Activision Blizzard Q3 2013 Finacial Results Conference Call – Mike Morhaime Transcript

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Activision Blizzard, BlizzCon 2013, Diablo 3 News, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

The Activision Blizzard Third Quarter Financial conference call took place on November 6th, 2013 at 1:30pm PDT.

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Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard, said: “Our third-quarter results exceeded our expectations, and we are able to raise our outlook for 2013 net revenues and earnings per share.

Robust continued engagement with our core franchises drove digi tal revenue, which constituted a majority of all revenue. This quarter demonstrates that games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft engage and entertain our fans year round.”

Kotick added, “We recently released new titles in two of the most popular franchises in entertainment, Call of Duty: Ghosts and Skylanders SWAP Force. We are thrilled by the quality of those games and we are excited to show what we can do with them on next-generation consoles in the coming weeks. We are also in the process of a beta launch for our first major free-to-play game, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.

However, we continue to believe that the fourth quarter this year presents a unique and challenging landscape due to increased competition and uncertainties surrounding the console transition.

We are confident in our ability to navigate these challenges successfully, particularly in light of the recent completion of our transaction with Vivendi and the focus and flexibility provided by our return to independence.”

  • As of September 30, 2013, Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft remains the #1 subscription-based MMORPG, with approximately 7.6 million subscribers.
  • In North America, Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft® II: Heart of the Swarm® was the #1 PC game for the first nine months of 2013.

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Morhaime: Q3 was an eventful quarter for Blizzard. We launched our first console game in many years with Diablo III. We also announced an expansion pack for Diablo III — Reaper of Souls.

Additionally, beta testing for Hearthstone kicked off and we released significant content update for World of Warcraft.

All of this activity has netted out to a strong quarter where we ended higher in net revenue and operating income versus Q2 mostly due to the Diablo III console launch on September.

Revenues and income were down year over year — as expected — due to the successful launch of Mists of Pandaria and the ongoing sales of Diablo III during the same quarter last year.

Going into more specific details with World of Warcraft, we’re very pleased with the response to Siege of Orgrimmar — the massive content update we released in September. This update included a huge new raid dungeon with major story elements, as well as a new area to explore and features that improved the game’s accessibility.

Flexible rates now allow groups of variable size to participate in the end-game raiding dungeons. Meanwhile, the Proving Grounds feature trains players to improve their play in specific roles, preparing them to participate in end-game content. Player response to the content has been good, and we saw increased engagement that has contributed to maintaining relatively stable subscribership quarter-over-quarter. We’ll continue to invest heavily in World of Warcraft to deliver frequent, high-quality content to our players.

Moving on to Diablo III, we are pleased with the response to the games launched on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Lifetime sell-through of the game across all platforms has reached over 14 million copies, and reviews have been very positive about how the game plays on console. Much of the praise has been centered on changes we made to the loot system and our decision to keep the auction house off of the console platform. Players and critics alike have noted that these changes have resulted in a more fun and satisfying game experience. That reaction factored in our decision to remove the auction house from the PC version of Diablo III effective next March, which players have also responded very positively to.

We’re building upon those design philosophies for loot and incorporating them into Reaper of Souls, the Diablo III expansion pack — which is coming for PC and PS4 in 2014.

In addition to the new loot system, Reaper of Souls will include an additional player class, the Crusader, and more gameplay modes for the endgame to keep players engaged. The reaction to Reaper of Souls at Gamescom was very positive, and we are looking forward to revealing more about the game at BlizzCon.

It was also a busy quarter for Hearthstone, our free-to-play digital card game for PC and iPad based on the Warcraft universe. In Hearthstone, players build decks of cards that feature familiar spells and creatures from World of Warcraft, and battle against each other using the cards. Players can collect cards simply by playing or by purchasing digital packs. They can also purchase entries into a special competitive mode of play called The Arena in exchange for either in-game currency or a small fee.

We’ve seen a great response from the community with the closed beta test, which kicked off in August. Hearthstone quickly became one of the most popular streaming games on Twitch, and we have been expanding the beta test to encompass more regions and a wider group of players. We’re continuing to work on polishing the game as we drive towards open beta testing.

Rounding out our big announcements since the last call is the name change of Blizzard All-Stars to Heroes of the Storm, which is our take on free-to-play hero brawlers. We’ve done an extensive internal test on Heroes over the past several months, and as the game has evolved, we felt it was appropriate to change the name to something more fitting of the gameplay experience.

We’re looking forward to sharing more details about Heroes at BlizzCon, which is taking place this weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center. This is another sold-out show, with more than 20,000 attendees coming to Anaheim from more than 40 different countries.

Our global community will also follow along through DIRECTV, online pay-per-view on blizzcon.com and partner broadcast in other regions. We will be showcasing our biggest pipeline of games ever and showing our appreciation for our community through contests, meet-and-greets and of course, major eSports spectacles.

The World of Warcraft Arena invitational and the global grand finals of the StarCraft II World Championship Series will be taking place, along with an invitational tournament for Hearthstone, featuring popular community personalities.

All of us at Blizzard can’t wait to get back to BlizzCon and connect with our players. We hope you’ll join us there or follow along online with a virtual ticket available online at blizzcon.com.

We are looking forward to celebrating a shared passion of gaming with our players, hearing their feedback on our newest game content and taking that energy and knowledge back to work as we drive towards an exciting 2014 for Blizzard.

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BlizzCon 2013 Returns This Week – Press Release

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzCon 2013, Diablo 3 News, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

Blizzard Entertainment sent a press release to all Battle.net subscribers giving a round up of events to happen at BlizzCon, and the goodies obtained by purchasing the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket to watch the livestream.

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IRVINE, Calif. –(BUSINESS WIRE)– BlizzCon® 2013, Blizzard Entertainment’s two-day gaming festival, makes a long-awaited return on Friday, November 8 , at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA. The sold-out show celebrates all things geek, featuring sneak peeks at what’s going on behind the scenes at Blizzard Entertainment .

This year’s BlizzCon includes discussion panels with Blizzard developers; community cosplayers; and Duncan Jones , director of the upcoming Warcraft® film. Also taking place are the StarCraft® II World Championship Series Global Final and World of Warcraft® Arena Invitational, in which top pro gamers from around the world will be competing for cash prizes and ultimate glory. Jay Mohr is back this year to host the ever-popular community contests, and SoCal punk legends Blink-182 will be performing an epic rock concert to wrap up the show on Saturday night.

BlizzCon tickets once again sold out in seconds, but anyone can still attend the event from the comfort of their home with the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket. Viewers will receive over 60 hours of live HD coverage of the event (including Blink’s sure-to-be-wild performance) across five channels over the Internet. Virtual Ticket holders will also receive all the BlizzCon-exclusive in-game goodies:

  • World of Warcraft in-game pet—the valiant Murkalot
  • To-be-revealed Hearthstone™: Heroes of Warcraft™ card
  • BlizzCon-themed “Mark of Death” Diablo® III banner
  • “Tearin’ Stitches” StarCraft II portrait and Stitches’ Hook decal

DIRECTV® customers in the United States can also order BlizzCon 2013 as a Pay Per View event and receive a free Virtual Ticket. In addition, the BlizzCon opening ceremony and eSports tournaments will be streamed free online at www.blizzcon.com. More info on the Virtual Ticket can be found at www.blizzcon.com/virtual-ticket/.

“We can’t wait to get back to BlizzCon and share details about our latest games with our most passionate players,” said Mike Morhaime , CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment . “It’s going to be a truly unforgettable weekend.”

BlizzCons of years past have featured an array of exciting panels, unveilings, and entertainment, including the world debuts of the latest World of Warcraft content, the first-ever public hands-on with StarCraft II and Diablo III, and epic rock performances by Foo Fighters and Tenacious D.

BlizzCon would not be possible without the enthusiasm of Blizzard Entertainment gamers around the world and the generous support of the event’s partners, who provide demo-station hardware, peripherals, and more. This year’s sponsors are Intel, NVIDIA, Sony Computer Entertainment , DIRECTV, SteelSeries, GIGABYTE, Rosewill, and EVGA.

Anyone attending BlizzCon who’s looking to join the ranks at Blizzard should bring their resumes, portfolios, or business cards. The Blizzard recruiting team will be on hand to review materials and discuss any job-related questions. More information on available Blizzard career opportunities can be found at http://jobs.blizzard.com, LinkedIn Blizzard Careers, and http://twitter.com/@blizzardcareers.

 

Arena Math and You: Statistics!

Written by Travis Morrow on . Posted in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

The Hearthstone forums is a treasure trove of arguments and interesting discussions. They aren’t always productive or poignant but the forums can be a good way to see other minds at work and breaking down bits of the game. A diligent Hearthstone player, Values, has broken down how Arena wins and losses work, where wins come from, where losses go, and a simple (and possibly accidental) introduction to economics.

Values describes how only a small number of players will ever break even in the Arena (that is, recoup their entry fee). According to most, it takes approximately 7 wins to earn enough gold to reenter the Arena. 6 or fewer wins means that you’ll have to earn gold from quests, wins, or buy into the Arena with real money. Values continues and states that because Hearthstone wins and losses in the Arena come against players, someone is always winning a game and someone is always losing. There are a finite number of players in Hearthstone, even if that size is growing, and every win a player earns comes at the expense of another player.

Let that sink in. It’s an obvious statement but the implications are immense. It’s explained eloquently here, by another player by the name of Kithros.

What does this all mean? Don’t be too hard on yourself if you go 0-3, 1-3, or any unsuccessful run of games. It’s very difficult to get to 9-X, the odds aren’t in your favor on a level field and the draft hardly makes the field level. Enjoy the Arena for what it is – a random draft for fun and prizes.

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SoCal Punk Legends Blink-182 to Close out BlizzCon 2013

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzCon 2013, Diablo 3 News, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

Blizzard Entertainment sent out a press release to reveal that Blink-182 will play music during the closing ceremony at BlizzCon 2013 on November 9th.

This concert will be aired via DirecTV and through the Virtual Ticket’s livestream. Visit the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket order page.

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IRVINE, Calif. –(BUSINESS WIRE)– Thousands of gamers are about to come to a party and celebrate all the big things (and all the small things too) . . . and maybe even fall in love with a gnome at a rock show when legendary Southern California punk rock trio Blink-182 headlines the closing concert at Blizzard Entertainment’s sold-out BlizzCon® gaming convention, taking place November 8—9 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Acclaimed worldwide for their influential and groundbreaking pop-punk sound, Blink-182 has achieved massive critical and commercial success, with over 35 million albums sold. Their third album, Enema of the State, went quintuple platinum and catapulted the band into superstardom.

Unfortunately for fans of Blink-182’s “What’s My Age Again?” video, Anaheim city ordinances strictly forbid the band from running naked through the streets around the convention center. BlizzCon attendees are kindly asked to adhere to the same policy.

“After two days of hard work watching games and playing games and talking about games, we can’t think of a better way to kick back and relax than to have your face melted by Blink-182,” said Mike Morhaime , CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment . “We’re thrilled to have such an awesome band helping us bring BlizzCon to an epic conclusion.”

“Nothing beats touring and playing in front of a live crowd,” said Tom DeLonge , Blink-182 guitarist and vocalist. “Our roots are in Southern California , so playing at BlizzCon will be like having a show in our own backyard—only with a couple thousand more orcs and elves in loincloths and bikini armor.”

BlizzCon is a celebration of the global player communities surrounding Blizzard Entertainment’s Warcraft®, Diablo®, and StarCraft® game universes. The show will have an array of activities, including discussion panels, competitive and casual tournaments, contests, hands-on playtime with current and upcoming Blizzard Entertainment games, and more.

While tickets to the convention are no longer available, viewers at home can join the excitement by ordering a BlizzCon Virtual Ticket, which offers comprehensive live coverage of both days of the event, including Blink-182’s performance, via multi-channel HD Internet stream for $39.99 USD (pricing and availability may vary by region).

DIRECTV customers in the United States can order the BlizzCon 2013 Pay Per View event, priced at $49.99 USD , which includes access to the Virtual Ticket online stream. Visit www.directv.com/blizzcon for more details.

With multiple games in development, Blizzard Entertainment has numerous positions currently available—visit http://jobs.blizzard.com for more information and to learn how to apply. As BlizzCon draws closer, further details about the show will be announced at www.blizzcon.com.

 

Hearthstone – Basic and Expert Cards

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

I gathered up all the Basic and Expert cards per class found in the Hearthstone collection book. The Basic Cards list contains the mana cost. The Expert Cards list contains the mana cost, how many arcane dust the card disenchants into, and how many arcane dust is required to Craft a specific card.

Hovering the mouse over the cards will display the card’s graphic, info and flavor text added to each card by the developers.

The list can be accessed through the menu on the right-side of the layout under the “Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft” sub-menu.

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The Problem of Over Correcting

Written by Travis Morrow on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Blue Posts, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Anduin is in a powerful place. Before the Big One, the priest’s options for fighting were weak and clumsy. Velen had few uses, Fade was mostly useless, Greater Heal was entirely useless. But some redesign and new cards swooped in to bolster Azeroth’s priestly princeling into a powerful Hero.

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But there might be a bit of a problem with him now. The priest has, perhaps, the best removals in the game. Holy Nova doesn’t hit as hard as Flamestike but it does heal your minions. Shadow Words Pain and Death are leagues better than Corruption or Naturalize. There are a host of powerful 4 attack minions, Ysera and the Auctioneer for example, but those can still be countered by silences or even a +1 buff from your end. That leaves the priest with Mind Control. Yes, the controlled minion has summoning sickness. Yes, it costs 8 mana, putting it behind Flamestrike by 1 turn and it’s twice the cost of Polymorph. Despite the high cost and delay in its effect, Mind Control is devastating. It’s at minimum a 2 card counter: you steal a card from a player, and force them to deal with the threat.

The Masters of Hearthstone’s mechanics aren’t unaware of Mind Control’s potency and the priest’s recent empowerment. In a post by Takralus, the community rep said:

We are talking about the issue here and looking at the power of Mind Control at different skill levels and in different modes so we can make any adjustments that may be needed. We’re still deliberating the right course of action, but we have heard you guys and we understand your concerns.

 

I’ve got some ideas for how to bring Mind Control under control.

  • Make the cost 10. A longer delay that allows you to rush the priest a little faster.  This is the least elegant option, I think.
  • Limit the targets. Maybe only 6 attack, or undamaged units.
  • The Mind Controlled target is weakened – a penalty to attack and health or is automatically silenced, since Anduin seems to enjoy that mechanic anyway.
  • The Mind Control effect can be silenced and the creature returns to its original owner.

Obviously, Mind Control is being examined by Blizzard’s team and they’re testing and watching it closely. Keep submitting suggestions to them and posting comments on the Hearthstone forums. The priest may have been over corrected but that’s how design works: a tweak this way, a twist that way, and eventually things are balanced out.

Not Garrosh. Anyone but Garrosh.

Written by Travis Morrow on . Posted in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

I don’t like Garrosh Hellscream very much. Not many people do. The raid on Orgrimmar was met by nearly frothing fans, anxious to break into the city and cut down the wayward Warchief. The Warcraft community wasn’t divided over wanting to see Garrosh dead, it was divided over who should get to kill him. He had a few moments of courage and honor, ably leading the Warsong Offensive into Northrend and teaching players what it means To Be Horde. his legacy, however, is marred by his arrogance, racism, and stubbornness. His orders resulted in the destruction of Theramore and war, his lack of respect of the other Horde races resulted in a rebellion, and his defeat didn’t come with honor: Garrosh is alive, shackled, and imprisoned. An orc’s life should end on his feet, fighting, not as a prisoner in a distant jail. For all of his mistakes, Garrosh’s father Grom had a good heart and redeemed himself in a single, noble act of sacrifice. If Garrosh was ever capable of such an act, the time has long passed.

His personality, legacy, and reputation make it odd for him to be the Warrior hero in Hearthstone. He’s a villain. “But so is Gul’dan!” you cry. Not necessarily. Gul’dan may have consorted with demons and darkness but he’s also the de facto founder of the Horde. Gul’dan invaded Azeroth, razed Stormwind, and essentially ushered in Orgrim Doomhammer. His legacy is complicated, and ultimately terrible, but it had profound effects on everyone, both good and bad.

But who could replace Garrosh?

Durotan.

He’s dead, but so are Uther and Gul’dan. He’s Thrall’s dad, a skilled warrior, a former Chieftan of the Frostwolves, he refused to drink Mannoroth’s Blood, and attempted to free the orcs from the demonic blood. He’s a hero, honorable, courageous, and known throughout the Horde as a champion. It’s too late to make the swap but I’d rather have Durotan as my Hero than the condescending Garrosh.

Which brings up another Hero I’d like to see jettisoned: Anduin.

Why is Anduin here? He’s becoming a talented priest but he’s hardly an earth shaker like the giants around him. Is he really representative of the priests of Azeroth? He’s had some effect in Mists of Pandaria with the Bell but he’s still young and has much to do to prove himself. Given his accomplishments, most player priests have the same exalted status of Anduin, or higher.

And replacing him seems obvious to me: Tyrande. It’s strange she’s not a Hero, or even in the game. She was the box art for World of Warcraft’s launch, an important figure in Warcraft III, she’s connected to both Illidan and Malfurion, and she’s a priestess of Elune. Anduin could have easily been a neutral legendary, what with his desire for diplomacy and pacifist nature, while Tyrande used the power of Elune to defeat her enemies. Her presence would have also upped the count of female Heroes by 50%, something I don’t think anyone would complain about.

But it’s too late for this. Maybe they’ll make appearances as in a Hero pack expansion or as legendaries? For now, though, I have to feel a little churlish whenever Garrosh says “Heh, Greetings.”

Blizzard to Giveaway 10,000 Hearthstone beta keys at the Brasil Game Show 2013

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

We have some news for the Brazilian fans who visit the Blizzard booth at the Brazil Game Show 2013. Throughout the five-day event, Blizzard will giveaway 10,000 keys to access the Hearthstone : Heroes of Warcraft closed beta.

The distribution will be made for those who test the game at the Brasil Game Show stations and through various activities – such as contests from the beginning to the end of each day to those who visit the Blizzard booth.

There will be several Diablo III console stations for the attendees, and of course, Hearthstone stations.

Not attending the Brasil Game Show? You might be able to join Hearthstone beta through yout Battle.net account opt-in option. Register now: http://www.PlayHearthstone.com. From time to time new keys are distributed to the Brazilian players enrolled in the official Hearthstone website.

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My Tantrum Deck

Written by Travis Morrow on . Posted in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Since the wipe I’ve been trying to create a strong Constructed deck to complete quests and generally just muck about in Hearthstone’s often surprising Constructed mode. When I acquired my gold I decided not to invest in the Arena but instead purchase packs and bolster my meager card collection. I knew that any legendaries I received would dictate the decks I constructed, at least at first. Before the wipe I had The Black Knight and Cenarius. My Malfurion deck was fairly strong but slow and built around ramping quickly in the early game. I was sad to lose the Black Knight; he’s limited but the Battlecry can be devastating against Ironbark Protectors, Sunwalkers, and the heavy taunts that slow down an onslaught.

So I opened my new packs and got two legendaries to replace the two I lost: Edwin VanCleef and Grommash Hellscream. No general legendaries but two of the better ones. I assembled a warrior deck as quick as I could and started playing. After a handful of games getting crushed I reworked it into a theme around Battle Rage and Enrage effects.

It’s not the most novel deck but it works well – I’m 14-2 with it, and the losses were close. It’s quick but the real power rests in its blitz potential. A few charge minions, Cruel Taskmasters, and Inner Rages and suddenly the creatures aren’t only charging, they’re devastating. Combined with the warrior’s weapons, control is somewhat maintained. Establishing an army of minions isn’t the focus – drop one or two creatures, let them be ignored, then punish the following turn.

Here’s the card list:
Inner Rage x2
Execute x2
Whirlwind x2
Fiery War Axe x2
Battle Rage x2
Cleave x2
Slam x2
Amani Berserker x2
Cruel Taskmaster x2
Raging Worgen x2
Warsong Commander x2
Arathi Weaponsmith
Kor’kron Elite x2
Arcanite Reaper x2
Gurubashi Berserker x2
Grommash Hellscream

My sideboard is simple. If I’m concerned the deck is weak or feeling anxious about the late game I use Frothing Berserker and Spiteful Smith is great for bumping up the weapons equipped. If you don’t have a Grom, swapping in either of those or an extra Arathi Weaponsmith would be good moves. Combined with Spiteful Smith and an Arcanite Reaper, Bloodsail Raider is another sneaky power play. Warsong Commander lets her hit right out of the gate, too.

It’s a fun deck and it allows for ample card draw. Give it a whirl and tell me what you think.

Hearthstone Closed Beta Patch Notes – Build 1.0.0.3937

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Blizzard deployed a new patch build for Hearthstone beta which addresses a few bug fixes. Warriors get a minor balance tweak decreasing the cost of “Battle Rage” and only counts friendly characters when the card is played.

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Today is patch day! This patch contains several quality of life improvements, as well as additional bug fixes. We’ve also tuned one card during this patch, Battle Rage, as noted below. Read on to check out the full patch notes.

Warrior

  • Battle Rage now costs 2 (down from 3) and now only counts friendly characters.
  • Temporarily increased the amount of dust that you get from disenchanting Battle Rage such that it is equal to the amount of dust that it would have originally cost to craft Battle Rage.

Bug Fixes

  • General
    • Matchmaking music can now be adjusted with the volume slider.
    • Fixed a bug where renaming a deck prevented players from editing the deck.
    • Fixed a bug where players could not create or edit a deck on the accounts first attempt.
    • Credits can now be viewed in enGB clients.
    • Fixed an issue where using the spacebar to rapidly open packs made it so you couldn’t view all your cards.
    • Unlocking Advanced Collections in crafting mode will no longer cause players to become stuck in crafting mode.
    • Opened chat windows no longer overlap challenges from friends.
    • Credits roll properly when viewed in any mode.
  • Cards
    • Playing Druid of the Claw while Snipe is active no longer causes the client to halt.

Thank you for continuing to provide feedback through our forums during the closed beta testing phase of Hearthstone! Have a bug to report or feedback to share with us? You can find a link to our forums here.

If you haven’t already, you can opt-in to the Hearthstone closed beta here! — source

 

Hearthstone in The Guardian

Written by Travis Morrow on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

The British daily newspaper has a solid write up of Hearthstone. It doesn’t describe much beta-players and close watchers won’t already know but it’s a good read regardless. The author, Rich Stanton, has some good quotes from Eric Dodds and Jason Chaynes about Hearthstone’s simple game mechanics as compared to other CCGs and the difficulties of playing those games online.

Dodds also mentions that the kinect feedback for Hearthstone was very important. “…when we started working on the online game we wanted to keep the soul of [physical cards] which is why we made the box, and the cards in the way they sway as you’re moving them through the environment, and the buttons that feel and respond like physical buttons.”

Staton also comments on the paradoxical fun of the Arena. He, like many, enjoys the Arena the most but finds the gold flow too slow for regular runs. Blizzard is walking a tight rope to find the proper balance between earning money from Hearthstone and opening up all the play modes easily.

The other major highlights? There’s one more patch coming before the game is launched, which is still slated for this year. The beta-less shouldn’t fret too terribly – everyday brings the game’s official launch closer and closer.

Staton’s article is available here.

Hearthstone – How to get 1600 Arcane Dust for your Uber Card

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

As someone who has played Hearthstone beta quite a lot, I can tell you right off the bat it is not so easy to get 1600 Arcane Dust the old-fashion way.

Old-Fashion Way

As you win games, you obtain gold either by winning three games (10 gold reward) or by completing quests (usually 40-60 gold). With the 100 gold you can buy individual card packs; or with 150 gold you can buy a pass to the Arena Mode gameplay; and if you already have some card duplicates the Crafting Mode button will pop an Arcane Dust Jar to alert you there are duplicate cards that need to be disenchanted.

In Arena, you get rewarded Arcane Dust, gold and cards, so it is recommended to play Arena Mode to collect as much Arcane Dust as possible.

Better Arcane Dust for your Buck

I did never play a TCG/CCG game ever, and don’t know the rules. I’ll mention it as often as I am able. When I first started playing Hearthstone a few months ago, I went with buying single packs of cards for 100 gold each. The results weren’t so great, but I did get a few nice cards.

After the character wipe patch, I have focused my gold spending on Arena-mode gameplay to get my new cards. Alright, an Arena Mode costs 150 gold, and you might not win many games; but this is the way to go to get better cards, and to collect your way to the 1600 Arcane Dust you need to craft the uber card you want. So this is a time investment that will eventually pay off.

Just a few minutes ago, I played Arena Mode two times. Won only 2 games each run. On my third Arena Mode run I won 4 times.

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In this attempt, I got one rare, one epic and ta-da! … one Legendary golden card: King Mukla.

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King Mukla costs 3 mana to play in a match and he has 5 damage and 5 health. His Battlecry is to give your opponent two bananas. However, the opponent can use each banana to add +1/1 to a selected minion. I don’t like King Mukla much. So I disenchanted it to obtain Arcane Dust toward the card I do want to craft.

When you obtain a Legendary Card that doesn’t have much appeal to you, go to the Crafting Mode browse through the card book and locate the Legendary Card. Right-click it and the Disenchant UI pops up. Click the Disenchant button and you will get 400 Arcane Dust for a Legendary Card. A rare Golden Legendary card provides 1600 Arcane Dust. According to Colorhammer and Eswift in the comments it is extremely rare to find a Golden Legendary card, so you might have to disenchant about 4 Legendary Cards to obtain 1600 Arcane Dust (400 Arcane Dust x 4 Legendary cards). Thanks for the correction.

In my case, I entered Crafting Mode again, clicked the (7+ mana) icon at the bottom to locate Ragnaros, the Firelord. Personally, I like this card a lot. It was used against me so many times, I tested its effectiveness.

It requires 8 mana. Usually by this eighth round most Hex/Sheep/Kill Command/Assassinate (etc.) have been used. If you are lucky, this card will put your opponent in serious trouble. The card itself can’t melee attack. However, at the end of your turn it will hurl an 8-damage fireball at a random enemy minion or at the enemy hero.

If the opponent throws a silence on your Ragnaros, the “Can’t Attack” rule is dismissed. In that eventuality, Ragnaros can melee attack and still kick some booty.

If you aren’t into buying cards for real money, then I recommend spending your gold efficiently in running the Arena Mode. Increase your chances to acquire Legendary cards this way, or other rarity cards and amass those 1600 Arcane Dust. It’s your best shot at crafting your desired card.

If you haven’t seen how Crafting and Disenchanting works, check out my recent article to view the UI screenshots.

Activision Blizzard to Release Third Quarter 2013 Financial Results on November 6, 2013

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

Activision Blizzard announced they will broadcast the Third Quarter 2013 Financial Results after the close of the market on Wednesday, November 6, 2013. Coincidence? BlizzCon 2013 takes place on November 8-9. Will Mike Morhaime have a few spoilers to share?

Personally, that would be a great move considering some people might want to watch the BlizzCon DirecTV or Livestream. Not all these conferences yield juicy announcements, but some have proven to provide approximate launch dates for beta testing.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013
1:30 p.m. Pacific Time ( 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time )

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Because Everyone Needs Weapons!

Written by Travis Morrow on . Posted in Blizzard Entertainment, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Five of the nine Heroes have weapons, and several. It makes sense that they’d swing swords or axes or shoot arrows and the casting classes wouldn’t. A melee mage isn’t a viable build in Hearthstone’s progenitor. But mages, priests, warlocks, and druids still use weapons. A warlock without a weapon is half a warlock. I’ve taken the liberty of creating some epic quality weapons for the Heroes currently unarmed. To keep things balanced I’ve also added some epics for the already equipped.

Mage
Staff of the Shadowflame
6, 1/5 – +2 Spell Damage. Each time you cast a spell, lose 1 durability.

Priest
Anathema and Benediction
5, 1/1 – Your hero power now heals friendly targets and damages enemy targets.

Warlock
Healthstone
4, 0/3 – Lose 1 durability, restore 3 health to a friendly target your Hero.

Druid
Fist of Cenarius
6, 2/3 – Draw a card each time you attack.

And for the weapon ready:

Rogue
Evasion
6 – You are immune until your next turn.

Paladin
Silver Hand Champion
7, 4/5 – Battlecry: Give all other friendly minions Divine Shield.

Shaman
Lightning Shield
5 – Deal 3 4 damage to your next 3 attackers.

Warrior
Thunder Clap
5 – Deal 1 damage to all enemy minions and reduce their attack 1 until your next turn.

Hunter
Scattershot
6 – Your opponent cannot cast any spells any cards next turn.

They’re almost certainly not balanced so why not offer some suggestions in comments?

Hearthstone – Ranked Mode Medals to Reset Weekly

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

I was playing Hearthstone last night when around 3:00am New York Time I got the message onscreen: “Congratulations (2-star Gold) Medal earned last week.” When I won my next game, I was greeted with a Copper Medal. This didn’t bode well, and I double checked the Ranked Mode UI. Indeed, I had been ranked with a Copper medal. The server reset the Ranked Mode Medal.

hearthstone-medal-earned-last-week-congratulations

At first I thought this was a bug and reported it so. After discussing the matter with Narull (Australia/New Zealand Diablo III MVP) it was obvious that the Congratulations message stating “earned last week” means the reset was intended. Blizzard Entertainment is planning as of the current Hearthstone beta build 3890 to reset the Ranked Mode Medal on a weekly basis.

hearthstone-copper-medal-after-server-reset-congratulations-message

Of course, this is beta. Things can change overnight as Blizzard continues to test and iterate beta and listens to fan feedback.

What does it mean for players to reset Ranked Mode Medals on a weekly basis? At the moment that is unknown. Blizzard did not mention this reset in the patch notes nor on the official forums or via Twitter. A response will likely be revealed in the next few hours. Stay tuned for an update to this post.

The first thing to come to mind is that Blizzard might be planning some juicy Hearthstone rewards if the reset is weekly. Those medals have a very short lifespan and resetting weekly might burn out players’ interest unless the rewards are so awesome they keep coming week after week to reach the highest possible medal.

Rewards might be different rarity of cards, extra Arcane Dust to create new cards, or something beyond my imagination. Arena Mode works this same way, but requires 150 gold to enter.

Update

There was a blue response from Community Manager Aratil at the official Hearthstone forums

The ranked ladder was reset yesterday. This was done in order to help us to test the ladder reset functionality as we continue to work on and develop how ladder systems will be implemented for Hearthstone. We appreciate your continued testing efforts through the Hearthstone closed beta to make this game the best it can possibly be for everyone on release!

 

Hearthstone Support for MacBook Pro Retina Display?

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Quality Assurance Rolkyr posted the forum thread: “Hearthstone Closed Beta Known Issues” on October 3rd.

I found curious the choice of words: “Mac retina resolutions are not yet supported.” The “not yet” part gives away there are plans to support .

Blizzard Entertainment has supported Mac users for over a decade, so it is no surprise they might be planning to support Retina users. However, MacBooks are not the only Apple product using the Retina display. The Apple iPad with Retina Display is a good example.

The Retina display on iPad makes everything look crisp and lifelike. Text is razor sharp. Colors are vibrant. Photos and videos are rich with detail. All thanks to its 3.1 million pixels — a million more pixels than an HDTV.

Blizzard plans to launch Hearthstone on iPad later in 2014. The internal iPad alpha testing apparently began a few days ago, as Rob Pardo implied via Twitter.


Known Issues:

Gameplay

  • Setting a custom deck name can cause issues when trying to edit the contents of the deck. Restarting the client will allow you to edit the deck again.
  • The first custom deck you create on the account can cause the client to halt. This only occurs with a mage custom deck and a client restart is needed.
  • Sometimes daily quests are not granted immediately.
  • Sometimes minions will shift positions on the board.
  • The AI can make incorrect choices.
  • The End Turn button can appear at the incorrect angle.
  • An already opened chat history window overlaps any pop ups for friendly challenges.
  • The Credits do not roll properly when viewed from the lobby of Play Mode, Practice Mode or The Arena.

UI

  • Opening multiple packs in a row using ‘Spacebar’ can cause the client to become unresponsive. A client restart is needed to work around the issue. This is only a visual bug and the cards are added to your collection properly.
  • Alt+tabbing while on a loading screen can cause graphical issues.
  • Alt+tabbing on a Mac can cause the Dock to remain visible.

Client

  • The client can become unresponsive when quitting from the menu.
  • The sound effects from pack opening can loop.
  • Mac retina resolutions are not yet supported.
  • Alt+tabbing can cause audio to be heard when the client is not in focus or to not be heard in-game.
  • OSX specific keyboard commands do not function consistently with other Blizzard title.
  • The Warcraft 2 music is incorrectly controlled with the SFX slider as opposed to the music slider.

Cards

  • Returning a card to a player’s hand can cause the card to remain facedown on the board.

 

Hearthstone – Detailed Card History

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Before the patch that wiped characters I can only remember when hovering your mouse over a card in the “card history” tab — on the left side of the Hearthstone board, you only saw the card name, type and flavor description text.

Now the card history contains a bit more information such as what cards it destroyed, or what card or hero it healed.

hearthstone-detailed-card-history

This new feature actually makes me wonder if Blizzard is planning to introduce some sort of Replay feature as seen in StarCraft/StarCraft: Brood War, StarCraft II and Warcraft III. There isn’t really much time to play your cards, and check out the history and checkout what happened last round or several rounds before the current round.

Maybe some sort of lobby where one can only browse through the detailed history outside Play Mode, where the player can actually see the name of that hateful card that annihilated your gameplay, to later plan to craft that card. A way to learn from other players’ strategies outside of a Play Mode game.

The new “Card History” feature is useful and interesting, but will Hearthstone have a Replay feature? Does it need a Replay feature? Share your thoughts.

Hearthstone – Crafting and Disenchanting

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Disenchanting and Crafting in Hearthstone got a few UI changes in the latest beta patch build 3890. I can see people who buy many cards with real-money and those who play Arena-mode might benefit more than those who buy single packs with gold in terms of the amount and speed rate in which you obtain Arcane Dust to spend in crafting new cards.

You will see now a few screenshots of the Disenchanting and Crafting UI to give you an idea how it works. It’s very straightforward and intuitive. (More after the break)

Hearthstone – Murlocalypsed

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Fear the Murlocalypse, brothers! I was so convinced I had this game. Every time he came up with units I would have a counter and at the end of my turn he didn’t have any units. I had a few, and more coming.

I grew overconfident, and let him slip a couple of murlocs, while I used all of my units to hit his hero. Out of the blue things got really, really ugly for me when his Murloc Tidecaller began to grow in health and damage as he summoned murloc after murloc. Then the cherry on top for his Murlocalypse sundae … Old Murk-eye.

If you see a single murloc out — my suggestion is to squash it right away. Otherwise you will get ambushed by a legion of murlocs with their battlecry in unison: “RwlRwlRwlRwl” which will leave you screaming in agony: “Nooooo!!!! I want my mommy =(”

hearthstone-murlocalypsed-2

Hearthstone Beta Opt-in Email Sent to US and EU Players

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

All United States and Europe players with a Battle.net account who enabled the Hearthstone Opt-in option have a good chance to be among those Blizzard Entertainment just invited to test Hearthstone Beta. Check out your email in the next 24-48 hours and double-check if you got one.

Yong Woo tweeted both US and EU Opt-in players were invited to test Hearthstone, and more waves of invites are coming in the near future. Additionally, there was a record of concurrency of players flooding the servers.

Yong Woo clarified that by US (United States servers) — he means players from South East Asia (SEA), Oceania: Australia/New Zealand (ANZ), North America, Latin America were invited yesterday, and many more will be invited more often in waves. This is the largest batches of invites ever going in Hearthstone.

I know you are very excited, but always precaution first and foremost. Beware of scams. Do not click on links blindly before checking the URL destination carefully.

Don’t forget to visit your Battle.net account page in case the Hearthstone beta has been enabled on your game list. Good luck everyone! See you at an Inn near you, matey!

hearthstone-patch-wipe-new-wave-of-beta-on-us-and-eu-twitter

hearthstone-beta-logo-patch-3749

Hearthstone Beta on iPad Soon?

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Rob Pardo tweeted he is testing Hearthstone beta on his iPad. The way he phrases it, it seems the iPad team just gave the green light to begin internal testing of the iPad version:

Rob Pardo: “Feels like an early Xmas – I get to start “testing” in the Hearthstone beta from my iPad”

 

The question is: Will players have the chance to beta test the iPad version in an upcoming Patch? Would you love to?

rob-pardo-hearthstone-beta-on-ipad-tease

hearthstone-beta-logo-patch-3749

VanCleef trips!

Written by Travis Morrow on . Posted in Blizzard Entertainment, Blizzard Products News, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

And no longer has stealth.

The patch notes for the upcoming Hearthstone patch have been released and they’re lengthy. Lots of balance changes (the ringleader has less health now) and piles of bug fixes. Secret and fatigue animations have been sped up and there’s some clarity as to why you get a coin when going second.

The full notes are available here.

Hearthstone Closed Beta Patch Notes

Written by Andy Go on . Posted in Blizzard Entertainment, BlizzPlanet Articles, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

wipeout

Today is the day for our Hearthstone Closed Beta patch! This patch also includes the account wipe, so when the servers are available for play once more, you’ll be starting again as if you were a new player. For more information on the wipe itself, please revisit our Account Wipe Incoming blog post, found here. Now, onto the patch notes!

General

  • The maximum level is now 60, and you can earn XP in any game mode up to max level.
  • Chat has been rejiggered.
  • Gold gained in Play mode has changed from 5 gold per 5 wins to 10 gold per 3 wins.
  • You can now acquire Golden Basic minions at higher experience levels.
  • Arena rewards now give less dust and more cards.
  • More gold is guaranteed at 5 & 6 Arena wins.
  • At 9 Arena wins, you are now guaranteed an extra pack or a Golden card.
  • The animations for Secrets and Fatigue have been sped up dramatically.
  • All cards now have flavor text when you view them in your collection.
  • “Spell Power +1” has been renamed “Spell Damage +1”.
  • Heroes can be unlocked in any mode (Play/Arena/Practice)
  • Play, Practice and Friendly Play modes will now default to the custom deck selection UI if you’ve previously created a deck
  • You can now click on chat bubbles to respond
  • Social – When your friends complete an Arena run or get a Legendary card in a pack, you’ll be notified so you can tell them, “Grats!”
  • Quests that required you to win with a class now give you a choice between 2 classes.

Closed Beta Patch – Featured Updates

Written by Travis Morrow on . Posted in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

A lengthy preview of the upcoming Hearthstone patch hit today. While it doesn’t contain the patch notes themselves (those will come when the patch hits), it does describe some of the incoming changes for the game and provide some hope for those of us sick if being pummeled by Valeera.

My favorite announcement is a simple one:

After the patch, daily quests that require you to win with a specific class will now give you a choice between two classes, allowing you some additional flexibility.

 

Thank you. Thank you so much. There are some hero balancing acts coming as well which should make Anduin more fun to play but the variety is greatly appreciated. He’s not a bad hero, I just like Thrall so much more.

Some golden cards are getting new animations, there’s means to craft specific golden cards, and the wins for the Arena are being retooled to be more valuable. Nine wins now guarantees another card pack or a golden card.

The trickle rate for gold income is also getting a desperately needed buff. Rather than 5 wins for 5 gold, it’s 3 wins for 10 gold. It now takes 30 wins for a card pack, not 100.

I’m waiting eagerly for the patch. The full preview is available here, with a link for beta opt-ins at the bottom.

Favorite Arena Picks

Written by Travis Morrow on . Posted in Blizzard Entertainment, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

More than flair, Hearthstone’s Arena is about solid cards that carry themselves. Synergy is something to spot as the deck is drafted but each pick is more about the best card at face value and not its potential when combined with a complex strategy. Constructed decks are where theme and flair can manifest with real power and presence.

But what cards have the best potential in a draft? Exact favorites vary from drafter to drafter, from deck to deck, but four out of five times I pick these cards over anything else presented. I wish I could swap most of these for a rare or even an epic when my choices are things like Angry Chicken, Coldlight Seer, or Hungry Crab.

Venture Co. Mercenary

Venture_Co._Mercenary

Its effect isn’t great, but he’s a nasty threat. It also puts your opponent in an uncomfortable position – they have to deal with him or risk him running over a weaker taunt minion or chopping the health pool down in big swings. But dealing with him removes the minion inflation cost, usually meaning you’ve baited out a polymorph, hex, or a heavy hitter of the enemy’s. Not bad for a five cost.

Heroes of the Storm Trademark in USA — Next World of Warcraft Expansion?

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, World of Warcraft News

Well, this is a surprising thing. First it appeared in New Zealand — as reported by MMO-Champion yesterday. Now the trademark has appeared on the United States Patent & Trademark website too.

I have been skeptic after “The Dark Below” one seemed as if it was a hoax, but now Heroes of the Storm has appeared on two different countries. Mind you — on United States a hoax would cost about $275 to trademark.

I visited the US Trademark website and indeed it is under Blizzard Entertainment, filed on September 24, 2013.

heroes-of-the-storm-trademark-in-us

Now I am not acknowledging this to be a legit trademark. Let’s keep it as a rumor for now. BlizzCon is barely 39 days from now. This is a usual timeframe for Trademark sites and Game Rating sites (PEGI,ESRB) to accidentally leak game titles not yet announced officially.

I remember when “Wrath of the Lich King” and “Cataclysm” appeared as a trademark a few days before BlizzCon. Forums and social media were speculating for days on end what “Cataclysm” meant.

“Heroes of the Storm” could be a real Blizzard trademark or it could be an expensive hoax.

What could “Heroes of the Storm” be, however, if it was a real trademark of an upcoming unannounced Blizzard game?

Hearthstone: Heroes of the Storm

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has a similar ring to it. Could it be Hearthstone: Heroes of the Storm?

Maybe. Since Ben Brode announced Hearthstone at PAX East 2013 this past February, it is widely known that Hearhtstone is targeted to be released at the end of 2013. Of course, there could be delays if they decided to reset, or further iterate. Let’s have Project Titan as an example which got the reset button to work on a new core programming and other aspects. If Hearthstone is released as a free game by December, it would make sense if Blizzard Entertainment announced the next Hearthstone expansion at BlizzCon in November 8th.

This is a smaller team of developers aiming to ship a new game yearly-ish, after all. Hearthstone was announced on February, and beta started in about 5-6 months after it was announced.

Diablo III: Heroes of the St—huh?

We know it is not a Diablo title. Obviously. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is the next Diablo expansion. This game was announced at GamesCom 2013 — check out our Developers Panel videos & the interview with Josh Mosqueira.

StarCraft II: Heroes of the St–nah!

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void is the next StarCraft II expansion and the finale of the series(?). So, nope. That’s not it either.

Blizzard All-Stars: Heroes of the Storm

Ok … this one sounds interesting. Why would Blizzard name Blizzard All-Stars with a secondary title? Interesting in that this trend would mean the DOTA-style game would have expansions rather than a stand-alone game. One would think the next installment would be — I don’t know … Blizzard All-Stars 2. However, it is hard to see Blizzard not launching an expansion to one of its leading franchise titles.

What makes it very unlikely for this trademark to be a Blizzard All-Stars expansion is that — WE HAVEN’T EVEN SEEN THE BETA OF THE FIRST GAME YET.

So, could it at least be the title for the first Blizzard All-Stars game? It is plausible. Why not? I mean … hello? Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness (instead of plain Warcraft II). Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (instead of plain Warcraft III). This could be argued because for some odd reason Diablo III was titled simply … Diablo III (sans-any-sort-of-secondary-title). And the original StarCraft was simply “StarCraft”.

Blizzard All-Stars: Heroes of the Storm … it has a nice ring to it. Me likes.

Update: Blizzard All-Stars was formerly known as Blizzard DOTA. The name was changed to what we known today. Warlock (“Scrolls of Lore” Admin) and another fan point out the most likely scenario is that Blizzard All-Stars is no longer to be known as “Blizzard All-Stars”. It is possible that “Heroes of the Storm” might be the name of the upcoming DOTA-style game from now on.

World of Warcraft: Heroes of the Storm

Now the most logical name trend seems to fit Hearthstone: Heroes of the Storm — but it could also be World of Warcraft: Heroes of the Storm.

I am not very convinced though. I an open to both sides of the coin here.

1. It can’t be a World of Warcraft expansion, because it breaks the trend. The Burning Crusade. Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria. All of these titles spun around the concept of either an entire legion, a bad guy or a culture. Heroes of the Storm? I mean, that would be sort of fun naming it after the players. If the trademark was for the next World of Warcraft expansion then we are the central figure of the expansion. Heroes … of … the Storm.

On one end, Alexstrasza clearly stated the Dragon Aspects were no more and from that day forward this was The Age of Mortals. Heroes like you and me are the new guardians and defenders of Azeroth.

The name scheme has a nice ring to it. Makes you wonder what Blizzard creative team might be cooking around the player becoming the protagonist of a WoW expansion.

Think about it. Throughout Patch 5.1 to 5.4, Wrathion has been preparing his champion (YOU) and any of both factions to take their rightful place as the line of defense of Azeroth.

Wrathion was a mere uncorrupted black dragon egg during the level 30-ish quests in The Badlands during The Cataclysm expansion. A red dragon sought the help of a gnome to help with the process. It was during one of those quests that we uncovered a Titan chamber with one of those Norgannon library Databanks.

The gnome used the databank on the egg. In Mists of Pandaria we learned that this databank actually did something to Wrathion — who was in that egg. It infused him with Titan knowledge and maybe even magic. It caused him to have visions of the future — where he saw an incoming “Storm”. The Burning Legion is returning to Azeroth. If you haven’t checked it out yet — I have almost all the Legendary Wrathion Questline quests archived with a transcript and videos.

Wrathion: Very good. Let’s talk. Tong! Drinks, please. My father, Deathwing, tried to destroy the whole of Azeroth.

He was misguided, of course, but he was right about one thing: Our world is… so fragile. We are a point of light in a universe of shadow. A candle in a tempest. Sometimes I think it was the very precariousness of our world that drove my father to madness.

Ah, thank you Tong.

Now, to my point. I believe we are headed towards a reckoning. And no, I am not talking about the current conflict between the Alliance and Horde. Believe me – what Garrosh Hellscream achieved in Theramore is nothing compared to the horrors that are even now bearing down on our fragile home.

But the war deeply troubles me. Do you see my concern? A divided Azeroth cannot possibly stand against the darkness. The war has to end. Soon. Before it consumes our strength!

You can rest assured that my loyalties lie with your Horde. How do we bring a swift and decisive end to the conflict? I believe the answer lies with heroes like you. We must ensure that you are up to the task… and then equip you accordingly.

 

As those words were spoken, Wrathion shows a sort of holographic projection of the world of Azeroth bombarded by fel fire or Infernals falling through the sky into Azeroth. The Heroes of the Storm trademark might be a reference to the upcoming storm — the return of the Burning Legion.

During the Sunwell Plateau raid dungeon in The Burning Crusade, the draenei Prophet Velen foretold about agents of the Light battling the Burning Legion in a near future. M’uru the naaru knew this too and willingly energized the Sunwell to be the new source of magic of the Blood Elves. Velen knew the Blood Elves had a role to play in the upcoming storm: The return of the Burning Legion.

On the other hand, it is possible that Blizzard might want to set Queen Azshara as the next expansion’s center villain as a trampoline to introduce the Burning Legion expansion.

It has been hinted before in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. During the quest The Return of the Resting, we find four Kvaldir spirits. These are similar to the Vrykul, but these Kvaldir are a underwater civilization.

Fengir the Disgraced says: Your offering has come too late, little one. Can you feel the mist closing in upon you? The Kvaldir return…
Rodin the Reckless says: From the mist and fog the Kvaldir approach. Flee while you still breathe the air of the living…
Isuldof Iceheart says: Look to the seas, as your doom comes with the swell of tides.
Windan of the Kvaldir says: My brothers have awoken. Your efforts are wasted…

 

That kinda sounded pretty stormish. The Kvaldir actually gave pause to the naga later in the Cataclysm expansion during the Vash’jir quests. The naga are planning something wicked. In the Cataclysm expansion they were seeking an artifact off the coast of Desolace to level entire continents. In Vash’jir the naga allied with the underwater Faceless Ones to take the power of Neptulon in the name of Azshara.

Recently, when asking about the Timeless Isle’s underwater content — a Blizzard developer — Cory Stockton told to Blizzplanet: “There are definitely some stuff in the water; but we know that water doesn’t always provides the best gameplay experience for WoW.”

Doesn’t seem like Blizzard was too satisfied with Vash’jir’s underwater gameplay after all. What if the naga somehow managed to rise the bottom of the sea to the surface though? There is actually one item of power capable of such a fit. It has been used already as a weapon in World of Warcraft. The Focusing Iris. In the Christie Golden novel — World of Warcraft: Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, Jaina is the last person to take possession of the Focusing Iris at the end of the novel — even masked its presence from Kalec the blue dragon, keeping its location a secret.

Conclusion

“This trademark could be the real deal or it could be an expensive hoax by someone who has the cash to place fake trademarks.” — you might think.

However, if you look it up in the US Patent & Trademark website — The Dark Below was never seen as a finalized trademark, and it was never in the Blizzard Entertainment trademark list. “Heroes of the Storm”, however, can be seen on the Blizzard Entertainment trademark list, registered by the Blizzard lawyer. Now that’s something to ponder.

The World of Warcraft: Heroes of the Storm is less likely to be it. I am going with Warlock’s gut guru-“ing” here. It does sound like Blizzard All-Stars might have been renamed for good.

BlizzCon is in 39 days. Not long before we can sate our curiosity and hunger. What is “Heroes of the Storm”? Grab one of those BlizzCon Virtual Tickets to watch the entire Blizzard panels on DirecTV or to watch the livestream on your internet browser to find out what it is.

UPDATE

This post was originally published on September 30, 2013. It’s been 17 days since posted. On October 17th, Blizzard Entertainment launched the official Heroes of the Storm website with a Carbot Animations video to debut the news that Blizzard All-Stars is now known as “Heroes of the Storm”.

Hearthstone Beta Characters Wipe and Beta Opt-ins incoming

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Zeriyah revealed plans to initiate a Hearthstone closed beta wipe. This means all your data including characters and card decks will be deleted in Hearthstone beta.

Blizzard is transitioning to better hardware to test the latest Hearthstone build in a bigger scale. This means a new wave of Hearthstone beta opt-ins will begin, and more waves afterwards. This won’t all happen overnight. Keep your attention on social media and fansites for new info as it becomes available.

The wipe in closed beta is very important to us, and marks a pretty big milestone that we hope a lot of you can be excited about.

First off, wipes aren’t super fun. In fact, they are negative fun. We chose to wipe in the closed beta at this point so we can impact as few people as possible. We understand that wiping data in Hearthstone may cause some frustration for people, but we anticipated having to do this since day one. Wiping will allow us to balance classes and carefully monitor that balance with a bigger player pool.

A bigger player pool? What? Well, after the wipe and patch that goes with it, we’ll be on different hardware than we were before. I’ll spare you the boring behind-the-scenes details, but we were limited in the amount of people we could invite to the first part of closed beta just due to these hardware limitations. With this patch and wipe, we’ll be making some serious transitions into hardware that can accommodate a larger pool of players. TLDR: Brace yourselves, the opt-ins are coming.

It’ll be a process—the gates won’t swing wide open right away, since we still need to make sure this hardware can hold up to the punishment we’re about to inflict upon it. However, as we invite more players to the closed beta test, the feeling of “hey, he’s in closed beta now and I’m not so he has a big advantage!” will diminish greatly since those players that have that small amount of play time “benefit” will soon be in the vast minority.

 

Hello Hearthstone players (and members of our gracious community still trying to get into the beta)!

Thank you for stopping by to read this important closed beta test update. At the start of the beta, we mentioned that we would reset information at some point, wiping all progress and cards in the process. We built this into our plan as we knew going into the beta that a number of cards were likely to emerge as overpowered and we also knew that we‘d make significant adjustments to the reward system and overall game progression. So, as part of the effort to level the playing field and also prepare our players’ accounts for the release version of our progression system, we made the decision to schedule a one-time wipe of all beta participant accounts. We have just about reached the point in closed beta where we’ll be doing this wipe, and thus wanted to share what that will mean for you, what to expect on the day of the wipe, and what will happen immediately afterwards.

A wipe? What’s a wipe?

If you are participating in the Hearthstone closed beta test, your progress will be reset. This includes your gold, experience and class levels gained through play, arcane dust quantities, cards unlocked through progression, and your medal ranking in Ranked Play mode. When you load up the game afterwards, it will be as if you were starting in Hearthstone as a new player. You’ll have to play the introductory missions once more and show Illidan just how prepared he is! (Spoilers: He’s not.)

When is the wipe happening?

We’re getting ready to release a pretty major beta patch to Hearthstone, and the wipe will coincide with that patch so we can closely monitor testing with the implemented updates.

A patch! What’s in the patch!?

We’ll announce details of the patch in a separate blog, so stay tuned!

I spent real money in Hearthstone! Is that going away!?

No way! As we mentioned in the earlier blog, any money you spent in Hearthstone will be reimbursed as gold, so you will be able to repurchase the same number of packs and Arena tickets you bought previously without additional investment. For each card pack purchased with real money, you’ll get back 100 gold. Each Arena entry will get you back 150 gold. Please note that any packs you purchase after the wipe will be different than the ones you had previously, so it is unlikely that you will receive the same cards again.

A couple examples:

  • Tim bought the $2.99 bundle for 2 packs during the beta. After the wipe, he will receive 200 gold (100 gold per pack x 2 packs.)
  • Janet bought the $49.99 bundle for 40 packs during the beta. She also bought 3 Arena entries. Janet will receive 4450 gold (100 gold x 40 packs + 150 gold X 3 Arena runs) after the wipe has been completed.

Like all gold, the reimbursed gold credit can be spent on either packs or Arena tickets. So if you bought a pack bundle previously, and would prefer to use your gold credit towards Arena entry, that’s available as an option.

Did you know: Getting back a lot of gold and need to buy a lot of packs at the same time? You can buy mass quantities of packs with gold by double-clicking on the brown “1 Pack” button in the store!

I helped test the store and got a Golden Gelbin Mekkatorque card! Is he wiped too?

Your good friend Gelbin will be waiting for you as soon as you complete the Illidan introductory mission. As soon as you’ve completed that mission you will receive the “Beta Hero” quest reward which will grant you Gelbin, as well as the gold credit for any purchases made prior to the wipe.

Will there be any wipes in the future?

We don’t anticipate any further wipes. This goes for both the Hearthstone beta and after the game’s official release. Any progress made during the beta after the wipe will be retained through the release of Hearthstone, such as new cards you obtain, levels that you gain and ranks you achieve. Basically, you’ll now be able to keep your stuff.

Wait, how will this work for Korea, Taiwan, and China? Closed beta hasn’t even started there yet!

Korea, Taiwan, and China will not be wiped. The wipe only applies to the beta participants currently playing in the North American and European beta tests. — source

 

2P Hearthstone Streamer Invitational Tournament Today!

Written by Travis Morrow on . Posted in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

2P is hosting a Hearthstone tournament today, which is already underway. The rounds are a best of three elimination, with the grand final as a best of five. 2P’s official page is here. It provides links to their official Twitch stream and the Twitch streams of the players.

The decks are all constructed beforehand and have been absolutely monstrous. This is an excellent opportunity to watch some great plays and learn what some of the best can do. Good luck to all the contenders!

How many minions again?

Written by Travis Morrow on . Posted in Activision Blizzard, Blizzard Entertainment, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Hearthstone provides a useful graph of information when constructing an Arena deck: the mana curve. It’s an invaluable chart that can help smooth out the transition from early to mid to late game, fix problems as you construct a deck (too many high costs cards, or no beefy minions at all). Certain deck strategies can subvert the curve or ignore it entirely, but most decks and their players watch it carefully. I’d like the mana curve added when making custom decks in Play mode because of how useful it is. I consider its absence an oversight and it hopefully appears later.

I’d like to see another graph added to Hearthstone’s deck construction: a minion versus spell chart. While not as vital as the mana curve, displaying a bit of info about the number of minions in your deck as well as the number of spells would be helpful. A mana curve taken at face value can be deceptive because it doesn’t distinguish between card types. Lots of cost spells may keep your curve smooth but a lack of early minions may leave you vulnerable. It’s not too troublesome to count the totals or track them externally but implementing such a feature seems like a natural addition to an already robust and informative UI.

As long as I’m talking about things I’d like added to a free game, how about showing cards by type? Neutrals and class cards, basics and experts, commons, rares, epics, and legendaries. The growing list of charts could be situated across from the deck list, or a button could be added next to the deck list to flip it over and display the information. Swap, swap.

These are minor suggestions from an immensely satisfied customer, however. The game is kinetic and fun, the cards well illustrated and expansive. I’d still really like banter from the heroes to each other. There are potentially more boards in the works, which is great, but I hate waiting for them. Personally I’d love to see an Undercity board with rats scurrying across the play area, maybe dodging cards. And anything from Northrend.

What about you? Any locales you’re waiting for? Any information you’d like Hearthstone to display?

Update: I am a fool. The mana curve is available in constructed: hover over a hero’s image and you can see your current curve.

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