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BlizzCon 2013 – Hearthstone – FAQ

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THE BASICS

What is Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft?

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a free-to-play digital collectible strategy card game that anyone can enjoy. Players choose one of nine epic Warcraft® heroes to play as, and then take turns playing cards from their customizable decks. Players are able to cast potent spells, use heroic weapons and abilities, or summon powerful characters to crush their opponent.

Why is Blizzard making Hearthstone?

We looooooove collectible card games and have been playing them since our Silicon & Synapse days. Creating a digital strategy card game felt like a natural next step for us, so we put together a small team and have been hammering away at Hearthstone for a while now. This is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time, and we’re excited to be working on something different from our other games. Same goes for creating a game for iPad in addition to PC. It’s been a thrill to work on Hearthstone, and we hope everyone has as much fun playing it as we’ve had building it.

Do I need to know anything about card games or Warcraft to play?

Not at all! We’ve designed Hearthstone so that anyone can get into it, no matter how familiar they are with the Warcraft universe or collectible card games. The game will teach you everything you need to know as you play it.

More after the break…

What are the key game modes and features?

Hearthstone’s key game modes and features include:

Practice mode: Hone your abilities and test out new deck ideas against A.I. opponents of basic or expert skill levels, and unlock playable heroes in the process.

Play mode: Duel other players to level up your heroes and complete quests along the way. To see how you stack up against the competition, enter Ranked mode, where you’ll increase your medal ranking as you duel others in a tiered ladder system. Whether you’re a grizzled veteran, a curious newcomer, or fall somewhere in between, Battle.net matchmaking will pair you up against a worthy opponent.

The Arena: Put your skills to the test in this mode where deck-building is half the fun. Assemble a new deck by choosing from a selection of randomized cards provided for the match, and then duel other Arena participants for a chance to win rewards. Players can use gold or real money in order to gain entry into the Arena. After winning or losing a specific number of matches, you will unlock a chest of loot based on how well you did.

Quests: Players can immerse themselves in new, ever-changing quests that will reward them with gold when completed. Gold can be used to purchase more card packs or gain entry into the Arena.

Collection Manager: Browse your ever-expanding card collection, disenchant cards for raw materials to craft new ones, and build a variety of custom decks to suit your shifting strategies.

What is the difference between Ranked, Unranked, and Friendly play?

In Ranked mode, you will move up through multiple tiers of medals based on your win/loss record. In Unranked play, you’ll still be matched with other players, but your performance doesn’t affect your matchmaking for Ranked play or your placement in the ladder. Both modes allow you to complete quests and level up. You’ll play ranked matches by default, but you can select the option to play in unranked mode.

Friendly duels are matches played against friends in your Battle.net friends list. Friendly duels do not contribute to your quest progression.

What are the different types of cards in Hearthstone?

Once you’ve selected your hero in Hearthstone, there are three types of cards you can use to construct your deck: spells, weapons, and minions. Individual cards are included in either the “basic” or “expert” card set (see below).

What’s the difference between “basic” and “expert” cards?

Basic cards are the “starter” cards that form the foundation of each hero’s class and are earned as you level up the hero. You can have up to two of every basic card in the game in your collection.

Expert cards are cards that can only be found in card packs, created using the crafting system, or won within The Arena (certain quests grant them as well). They’re distinguished by their rarity, which is shown in the form of a gem—common (white), rare (blue), epic (purple), or legendary (orange). Generally, the rarer a card is, the more complex it is, often providing you with new strategic options. You can have any number of the same expert card in your collection, though only two of any common, rare, or epic card, and one of any legendary card, can be placed in a deck (except when building a deck in the Arena).

Both basic and expert cards have important roles to play in all decks, regardless of whether you’re just starting out or are a Hearthstone grandmaster.

How much does it cost to play?

Hearthstone is free to play, and there are a number of different ways to acquire cards through gameplay. In addition, players will have the option to buy additional card packs through an in-game store using Battle.net Balance or other supported payment methods, such as major credit cards. However, there is no requirement to purchase card packs in order to play Hearthstone.

What are all the different ways a player can acquire cards?

Players will earn their first set of cards as soon as they start playing Hearthstone, while certain game modes and features will award additional cards through gameplay. In addition, players will have the option to purchase additional card packs through the in-game store using Battle.net Balance or other supported payment methods, such as major credit cards. Here are the different ways to get cards:

Practice Mode: Play against A.I. opponents representing different classes to unlock new heroes and basic cards.

Play Mode: Participate in traditional head-to-head matches to complete quests and earn gold for purchasing card packs.
The ArenBuild a deck by selecting one card from each of a series of randomized card choices, and then play against other Arena participants. After winning or losing a specific number of matches, you will open a chest of loot based on how well you did.

Crafting: Disenchant expert cards in your collection to receive Arcane Dust, and then use your collected Dust to craft other cards of your choosing. Basic cards cannot be disenchanted.

Card Packs: Purchase card packs containing five cards each using your Battle.net Balance or a variety of supported payment methods. One of the cards will always be “rare” or greater. In some cases, you can get more than one rare, or even an epic or legendary card.

Leveling: Participate in a duel against the AI or another player, and earn experience whether you win or lose. Once enough experience is earned, your hero will level up, potentially granting access to new cards for your collection. As you level, you’ll also unlock Golden versions of each class’s basic cards.

How many cards are available in the game?

There are over 300 cards in Hearthstone. Some cards are granted as you unlock and level up your heroes, some are earned from completing quests, and others are found inside card packs that can be purchased with gold earned through completing quests or by competing in the Arena. We plan to introduce additional cards over time.

Can I trade cards to other players or sell cards for real cash?

No, Hearthstone is not designed to support these types of transactions. The crafting system gives players a way to easily and quickly disenchant cards they don’t want—and create the cards they do want—without the complexities of a trading system.

Can players choose to battle against their friends in addition to taking part in match-made duels?

Of course! You will be able to play against your friends via your Battle.net friends list.

THE LAUNCH DETAILS (SO FAR)

When will Hearthstone be released?

We are in beta right now, and are aiming to have Hearthstone fully released this year. That being said, we’re also going to take as much time as necessary to make sure Hearthstone is as fun and polished as possible.

On which platforms will Hearthstone be available?

Hearthstone will initially be available for Windows® and Macintosh®, with a version for iPad coming later. We also announced at BlizzCon that we would be supporting iPhone and Android in the future.

Will Hearthstone be localized? Which languages will it be available in?

We’re planning to localize Hearthstone in the same languages as World of Warcraft wherever possible.

How do Hearthstone and World of Warcraft relate to each other?

Both games take place in the Warcraft universe, and World of Warcraft players will recognize a lot of aspects of Azeroth in Hearthstone. That said, you don’t need to know anything about World of Warcraft to have loads of fun in Hearthstone.

THE GAME MECHANICS

What makes Hearthstone different from other card games?

We’ve designed Hearthstone to be easy to learn so that anyone can get into it—but it’s also deep enough that even the most elite duelists will find it a challenge to master. Hearthstone is designed around short, action-packed duels that generally take 10–15 minutes to play.

How many players can play in a multiplayer game?

More than one, but fewer than three.

Which heroes are featured in Hearthstone?

You’ll be able to build a deck based on one of nine epic Warcraft heroes, each representing one of the original World of Warcraft classes: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, and Warrior.

Wait, what about Monk? Where’s Death Knight?!

The roster of heroes represents the nine classes that were available at World of Warcraft’s launch. It’s still too early to discuss our plans for heroes aside from these, though the game will continue to evolve over time. So practice patience, young monk! And death knight, you’re immortal, so you can chill for now too, right?

Will additional content be available in the future?

We plan to add more content and additional cards as the game evolves, but we don’t have any details to share just yet. Right now, our focus is making sure the game is as fun and polished as possible right out of the gate.

How does Practice mode work?

In the game’s Practice mode, you play against a computer-controlled hero of any class at one of two different difficulty levels. Challenging that hero will unlock it for play and expand the types of cards you’re able to add to your collection. Players will earn a fledgling Mage deck just by launching the game, but that’s only the beginning of the journey. . . .

Can I create new decks or modify my current deck?

Absolutely! Customizing the perfect deck to suit your play style or to counter a rival is a huge part of Hearthstone. As your card collection grows, the in-game Collection Manager will help you create, save, and edit multiple decks for whatever situation or play style you can think of.

What if I’m new at deck-building and need some help?

We want anyone to be able to get into Hearthstone and build a deck without having to understand all the nuances of deck building. To that end, we’re developing a feature that will examine your deck and card collection and provide suggestions for what you should add.

What comes in a card pack?

Each pack comes with five cards. Your chance to receive a particular card depends on its rarity: common (white), rare (blue), epic (purple), or legendary (orange). You’re guaranteed to receive at least one rare or better card per pack. Each card in the pack also has a chance to upgrade to a “Golden” version of the same card.

What is a Golden card?

All cards found in a card pack have a chance to be upgraded to a Golden card when the pack is opened. This upgrade will affect the appearance of the card—it will animate and look extra cool— but not its power. Cards can also be crafted into their Golden version and acquired while leveling.

Does Hearthstone support asynchronous play?

Hearthstone is designed to be a fast-paced experience. That being said, we recognize that players may want to play the game in short bursts with their friends over a longer period of time, so we’re looking into the possibility of supporting asynchronous play.

How does The Arena work?

You’ll be able to purchase entry into the Arena with either gold or real money. Once you’re in, you will build a special Arena deck, choosing one card at a time from a series of card options until you have a full deck of 30. You’ll then duel with that deck against other Arena participants until you win or lose a specific number of matches. At the end, you will open a chest of loot based on how you did that can contain a variety of rewards like gold, card packs, and more!

How do I disenchant and craft cards?

Expert cards can be “disenchanted”—giving the player a resource called Arcane Dust but destroying the card in the process. Once a player collects enough dust, they can use it to create any card in the game, including Golden cards, permanently adding that card to the player’s collection. The amount of Arcane Dust received and/or the cost of the card created depends on the card’s rarity (common, rare, epic, or legendary).

Only expert cards—that is, cards that come in card packs or are earned through playing in the Arena—can be disenchanted. Basic cards (i.e., cards with no rarity indicator) cannot be disenchanted.

THE TECHNICAL STUFF

How do I pay for cards?

Windows and Macintosh players will be able to purchase card packs within the game using their Battle.net Balance or any other Battle.net-supported payment method attached to their account. On the iPad, players will be able to make purchases using the payment methods they’ve associated with their AppleID in the App Store. The exact process will differ slightly for each region. We’ll provide further details as we get closer to launch. Players will also be able to use gold to purchase card packs.

What are the system requirements for Hearthstone?

You can check out our system requirements for Windows and Mac on our support website.

Will I be able to add friends in Hearthstone and chat with people?

Yes! The folks in your Battle.net friends list (both BattleTag and Real ID friends) are available for games or conversation. Players will not be able to chat with anyone who is not on their friends list. However, players will be able to choose from a variety of emotes for basic communication during games.

How can I communicate with opponents during a game who are not on my friends list?

We have an emote system that lets you communicate in a safe way with random folks you are playing with online. You can thank, congratulate, or threaten your opponent with the voice of the hero you are playing.

Do you need a Battle.net account to play Hearthstone?

You will need a Battle.net account to play Hearthstone on PC. If you don’t already have a Battle.net account, you can create one at http://www.battle.net

Do you need a World of Warcraft, or any other Blizzard game accounts to play Hearthstone?

Nay, ye do not!

Do I have to play in the region I live in? I want to play with my buddies in that other country!

After the game is released, players will have the ability to connect to other game regions when playing Hearthstone, but their progress, card collections, and friends lists will not be shared across regions. Ye have been warned!

Will there be parental controls for Hearthstone?

Yes. At launch, parents will be able to use Battle.net’s Parental Controls system to restrict their child’s ability to make purchases within Hearthstone.

Can I play on the iPad against someone on the PC, and will my card collections carry over between the two?

Yes, Hearthstone will have cross- platform compatibility to allow iPad and PC players to all be in the same pool when matchmaking. Your collection will also be available across both the PC and iPad versions of the game.

© 2013 Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved. Hearthstone is a trademark, and Warcraft, Battle.net and Blizzard Entertainment are trademarks or registered trademarks of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. in the U.S., and/or other countries. Windows is a trademark of the Microsoft group of companies. Mac and IPad are registered trademarks of Apple, Inc. All other trademarks referenced herein are the properties of their respective owners.

BlizzCon 2013 – Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft – Fact Sheet

Blizzard Entertainment’s Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a free-to-play strategy card game for Windows, Macintosh, and iPad. Designed to be deceptively simple and epically engaging for players of all backgrounds, Hearthstone features quick and lively duels that evoke the spirit of a friendly match played beside a crackling tavern fire.

Each player’s card deck centers around a hero representing one of nine iconic Warcraft classes, customized with a set of minions, spells, and/or weapons based on individual strategy and available cards. Players will be able to hone their skills in practice matches against the computer, and when they’re ready for the challenge, they can take on their Battle.net friends and other players in friendly duels on PC or iPad. To further develop their decks, players will be able to acquire cards by crafting them and by winning or purchasing new card packs. With hundreds of unique cards to choose from, the potential card combinations and possible strategies are endless!

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Game Modes

Play Mode: Duel other players to level up your heroes and complete quests along the way. Whether you’re a grizzled veteran, curious newcomer, or fall somewhere in between, our Battle.net matchmaking will pair you up against a worthy opponent.

The Arena: Put your skills to the test in this mode where deck-building is half the fun. Assemble a new deck by choosing from a selection of randomized cards provided for the match, and then duel other Arena participants for a chance to win rewards. After winning or losing a specific number of matches, you will unlock a chest of loot based on how well you did.

Practice Mode: Hone your skills and test out new deck ideas against basic or expert AI opponents, and unlock new playable heroes in the process.

Key Features

Collection Manager: Browse your ever-expanding card collection, disenchant cards for raw materials to craft new ones, and build a variety of custom decks to suit your shifting strategies.

Quests: Players can immerse themselves in quests that will reward them with gold when completed. Gold can be used to purchase more card packs or gain entry into The Arena.

Crafting: Disenchant those extra cards in your collection to receive arcane dust, the building block used to construct Hearthstone cards. You can then use this dust to craft the cards needed to complete one or more of your decks or your overall collection.

Friendly Duels: Want to challenge your buddy to a quick match (or just show off your shiny new cards)? Hearthstone is connected to Battle.net, so you’ll be able to fire up a game with a friend right from your friends list.

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

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

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!

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

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

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

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.

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.”

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