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Jinx Spring 2014 Collection – World of Warcraft Azeroth Alliance/Horde Zip-Up Hoodies

Jinx launched a brand-new World of Warcraft Hoodie for this Spring 2014 season. Actually, two Hoodies. How’s that? Well, you may choose the Horde Hoodie or the Alliance Hoodie. How nice is that?
The Azeroth Alliance Hoodie has the Stormwind Lion symbol-shaped zipper, the Stormwind Lion Logo on the front at …read more

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor Screenshots Teaser # 1

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor creative director Alex (Furor) Afrasiabi recently posted two new screenshots via Twitter to tease Gorgrond and Talador.

Gorgrond and Frostfire Ridge were part of the original continent, but when Ner’zhul opened the portals that tore the world of Draenor apart, both zones collided creating a …read more

ArtCraft Part 2 – Building a Garrison

Bashiok posted a new chapter of the ArtCraft series that aims to provide fans a glimpse into the work of the artists and the new features they are working on for the Warlords of Draenor expansion.

Just in this ArtCraft, seven developers in the Art Team offer insight into the artistic development process of the Garrison and some of the buildings, and props.

  • Chris Robinson (senior art director)
  • Cory Stockton (lead content designer)
  • Wendy Vetter (lead artist, dungeon team)
  • Eric Browning (lead prop artist)
  • Jordan Powers (associate artist)
  • Eric Braddock (associate 3D artist)
  • Jay Hwang (senior 3D artist)

Chris Robinson: Greetings, and welcome to another edition of Artcraft! I’m Chris Robinson, senior art director of World of Warcraft, and for this second entry I’ve gathered a group of Warlords of Draenor developers to talk a bit about Garrisons—specifically, how our artists are working closely with the game designers to ensure that the visuals we’re crafting support their design goals.

We’re not really going to get into the details of how Garrisons work here, like specific mechanics of their design. Think of this more as a behind-the-scenes glimpse into our art process with two of our groups: our dungeon art team, which is responsible for all the Garrison’s large buildings, walls, gates, and so on; and our prop art team, which is focused on the profession buildings and all of the awesome details you’ll find inside of them. — read more

 

Activision Blizzard Q4 2013 Conference Call – Transcript

During the Activision Blizzard Q4 2013 financial results conference call, Mike Morhaime announced the 2013 ended with 7.8 Million subscribers for World of Warcraft. The introduction of one level 90 boost is aimed at returning players who for whatever reason left some time ago, but wish to play and level up with friends right away in Warlords of Draenor.

Hearthstone is in public beta and expects to release it on iPad and Android later in 2014. This page will be updated with a full transcript later tonight. In the meantime, here is the audio clip of the Activision Blizzard Q4 2013 conference call — only the Mike Morhaime portion.

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Transcript

Morhaime: 2013 ends on a strong note with our most successful BlizzCon yet. More than 4.5 million viewers around the world tuned in into the show where we gave you two news games, Heroes of the Storm and the next expansion for World of Warcraft, Warlords of Draenor.

More than 24,000 attendees got a chance to download those games in addition to Diablo III: Reaper of Souls on PC and PS4; and Hearthstone are free-to-play digital card games. We received very positive player feedback in press coverage on all of our games that has come given us great momentum as we head into the great 2014.

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Before we look ahead, let’s review World of Warcraft in Q4. Global subscribership in the quarter ended at 7.8 million subscribers worldwide, and slightly above where we ended in Q3, meaning that the player base has remained pretty stable for three successive quarters.

We should use the strength in Q4 for a few factors: The excitement from BlizzCon, seasonality from the holidays and a refresh of the recruit of final program which offer special test inbound to players to bring revenue into World of Warcraft.

As we head into Q1, we are not going to benefit as much from the same factors that drove Q4. So we will continue to work ways to drive engagements as we move closer to the release of the next expansion.

Warlords of Draenor will reintroduce players with some classic settings and characters from our Warcraft strategy games. In addition to a new continent, and new dungeons, Warlords will include Garrisons, which are our personal fortresses within the game.

Players can collect computer-controlled followers to work in that Garrison, customize their fortress with structures for special battle sets and invite friends to explore their personal piece of Azeroth.

Players will also get the ability to instantly boost one character to level 90 when they purchase the expansion.

We recently announced that players will get access to this boost when they pre-purchased the game.

So, people would be able to enjoy their new max level character right away in Mists of Pandaria.

We think that this is a great feature that will make it easier for friends to play together in World of Warcraft.

It’s also attractive for veteran players, who have already experienced the level and process multiple times and want to quickly raise a new character to deal with end-content.

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We also had some exciting news for Diablo III: Reaper of Souls in Q4. The game will ship for Windows and Mac on March 25th, and we began taking pre-orders in December. We also kicked-off beta testing in December, and feedback from players has been positive.

The expansion will add a new class, the Crusader, as well as new areas for players to explore; and new features like Adventure Mode and Nephalem Rifts, which enhance for replayability.

An all-new Loot system will make playing and collecting gear even more satisfying.

We’re also removing the Auction House from the game on March 18th. A change that has been welcomed by players.

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I’d also like to talk a bit about Hearthstone, our free-to-play digital collectible card game. Players build decks of cards that consist of familiar spells and creatures from World of Warcraft and battle against other players using the cards. Players can collect new cards, simply by playing the game or purchase cards with real currency.

Entry into a special game mode called Arena can also be purchased with in-game gold or real currency. Millions of players across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America participated in Hearthstone’s closed beta test. And a couple of weeks ago, the game transitioned into open beta, which means that anyone can now download the game without any special invitation.

Concurrently across the globe, it has grown steadily since open beta started. And Hearthstone continues to be one of the most popular games watched on Twitch.

The launch of open beta is a great follow-up for the success we had at BlizzCon, while a 100,000 concurrent online viewers watched the finals of our Hearthstone invitational tournament.

We also announced at BlizzCon that we’re working on an iPhones and Android versions of the game, which we expect to ship this year. In the near term, we hope to just quickly transition into launching on iPad.

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Hearthstone isn’t the only free-to-play game on our sleeve. At BlizzCon, we also announced Heroes of the Storm, a new free-to-play online team brawler. Players can choose from an array of iconic Blizzard characters, customize their abilities and team up with friends to battle other players. Heroes take a more fast paced accessible approach to a genre that has grown extremely popular in online gaming over the past few years.

Players and fans are very excited about the game at BlizzCon. We also showcased Heroes at G-Star in Korea, where it was named most anticipated new game by a poll at G-Star.

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Now to one of our franchises which is StarCraft II. The Heart of the Swarm expansion is the number one selling PC game at North American retail last year. And a couple of weeks ago, we made the StarCraft II Arcade available to anyone via the free starter version.

We’re hoping a change will encourage new players to try StarCraft II and bring visibility on the thousands of user-made games and maps created using our in-game tool.

Since the patch, we are seeing increased player engagement. Going forward, we are continuing our (###) with our World Championship series. And we’re hard at work on the final chapter to the StarCraft II saga, Legacy of the Void.

To sum up, Q4 was quite busy, an exciting quarter for Blizzard. We showed excitement for all of our games with a very successful BlizzCon and look to make 2014 a great year for Blizzard gamers with multiple game launches.

 

World of Warcraft Ended 2013 with 7.8 Million Subscribers

According to Robert Kotick, World of Warcraft ended 2013 with 7.8 Million subscribers and continues to be the #1 subscription-based MMORPG around the world.

Expecting growth and record 2014 Non-GAAP EPS driven by strong slate: Hearthstone, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls and another major game.

Another major game? That’s bound for some speculation.

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PvP Season 14 Ending Soon – Warlords of Draenor Beta Imminent?

Blizzard Entertainment announced that PvP Season 14 is ending soon. No date was provided, but this might be a sign that PTR patch 5.4.7 is coming to an end.

Once PvP Season 15 starts, players will be able to acquire Prideful Gladiator gear with an Item Level 550. Make sure to read the notes to plan ahead what to do with your current Honor and Conquest points.

Speculation

A couple of questions might brew out of your mind after reading PvP Season 14 is coming to an end. Is Patch 5.4.7 coming out in the next couple of weeks? is Warlords of Draenor beta imminent?

I also remind you — Mike Morhaime is talking on February 6 at 1:30pm before shareholders at the Activision Blizzard Q4 2013 financial results conference call. Going back in time, Morhaime revealed on February 10, 2010 that StarCraft II beta would start that month (no date, but an approximate). StarCraft II beta started on February 17, 2010. That was 7 days after Morhaime announced it. Wink … wink. Stay tuned to Blizzplanet on February 6 for the coverage.

World of Warcraft: War Crimes by New York Times best selling author Christie Golden ships on May 6, 2014. The novel bridges the gap between Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar and the upcoming expansion World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor.

The current Diablo III: Storm of Light by Nate Kenyon is a novel tie-in that bridges Diablo III and Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. It was released today. The expansion ships in exactly in 48 days. Let that sink in for a moment. War Crimes ships on May 6. A novel tie-in to Warlords of Draenor.

Let’s go back in time for a moment. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm closed beta began on June 30, 2010. The expansion shipped nigh six months later on December 7, 2010.

Mists of Pandaria beta began on March 21, 2012 and shipped on September 25, 2012. Six months of beta testing.

In a nutshell, Beta lasts an average of 6 months. If Warlords of Draenor shipped approximately 48 days after the War Crimes novel, the release date would be somewhere around late June or July. Do your own math and tinkering on when Warlords of Draenor beta should start.

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Blood, sweat, and tears stain the Arena floors and Battleground fields—a grim chronicle of the hard-fought battles many of you have survived. Once again, the time has come for the victorious to be heralded, and champions to be rewarded!

Season 14 is coming to an end as early as two weeks from now. On that day, we’ll begin the process of determining end-of-season reward eligibility, which could take up to two weeks to complete.

Qualifying players should note the following in order to ensure you receive your just rewards:

  • Please do not transfer your characters to another realm or faction until after Season 14 has ended.
  • Award distribution for Season 14, including titles and mounts, could take up to two weeks after the season ends, though our goal is to finish in one.
  • Only players who have a rating of 1,000 or better are considered when calculating rewards.

At the end of the season, Conquest Points will be converted into Honor Points, and any Honor above 4,000 will be converted into in-game currency at a rate of 35 silver per point. There are a few other things to keep in mind once the season ends:

  • The Honor Points cap will remain at 4,000.
  • All Season 14 items will have their costs converted into Honor Points equivalent to their previous Conquest Points cost, with the exception of any items that have a rating requirement.
  • Season 14 items with rating requirements will no longer be available for purchase.

Season 15 Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds will begin approximately one week after the end of Season 14, and all Personal Ratings will be reset at the same time. Also note that Arena and Rated Battleground matches will not be available during the break between seasons. Once Season 15 begins, players will battle for the right to equip Prideful Gladiator gear, the most powerful PvP gear in game to date with an Item Level of 550.

Lastly, as of the beginning of Season 14, PvP players no longer needed to join or create an Arena team to compete. You can find more information about this earlier change in our Patch 5.4 Arena Update blog.

 
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