WoW Insider had the opportunity to interview Christie Golden and she put a lot of info out there concerning the plot of this new novel. It is not so much focused on Garrosh’s point of view, but on all leaders of the Alliance and the Horde instead. We will get into their mind and see how they portray Garrosh, and what their own personal bone to pick with Garrosh is since he arrived to Azeroth.
The Bronze Dragonflight will be represented there in Pandaria to show everyone in this trial all the atrocities committed by Garrosh, and maybe some more. We’ll see plenty of Jaina, Sylvanas and Tyrande’s individual development in this story. Other characters will be Baine (taking care of Garrosh’s defense), King Varian, Anduin, Vol’jin. Likely all other leaders of the Alliance and the Horde — but there won’t be much development for Lor’themar.
Using the Bronze Dragonflight’s ability to see the timeways, we will see the events fold and flesh out to see past events of the last few years.
According to Chris Metzen, Garrosh has a little friend who can manipulate time who sent him back to Draenor before Grom Hellscream and the orcs drank Mannoroth’s blood. Thus, it might be interesting to see who that person is. I am currently transcribing the entire BlizzCon 2013 What’s Next panel, so keep an eye for that to find out what Metzen revealed about the expansion. Read the full interview.
Personally, I have a hunch it is Kairoz, because how he appears in different visions of the timeways during the quests of the Timeless Isle (off the coast of The Jade Forest). On the other hand, the way Metzen said “a little friend” with time manipulative powers — what if it turns out to be Wrathion? He is not a bronze dragon, but didn’t we help him imbue our Legendary cloak with properties of the Timeless Isle? Some food for thought.
Now that I’ve gotten home from one epic Blizzcon, let’s go over some substantial changes coming to raiding in 6.0!
Spec is everything:
One of the biggest announcements for Warlords was that armor pieces will now change stats according to spec. Plate is plate, mail is mail, leather is leather, cloth is cloth. Here’s an example: I have a Pandaren monk who starting 6.0 will have leather with agility stats in my Windwalker spec. If I change to my other spec, Mistweaver, it will change agility into intellect the moment the spec cast bar completes! Same goes for Brewmaster, which would shift to armor emphasis as a tanking stat. This change also includes Tier bonuses for each spec as well! What impact does this have on WoW? It means a few things: raids will gear up faster, with no more hunter mail drops that an elemental shaman can’t use for their primary spec. A cat druid will no longer skip on intellect gear, its leather armor pieces will change stats for all roles! There will still be non-armor gear (such as trinkets) that will be role specific, but as a whole this will be a very welcome change to how gear works. My Ret Paladin can actually consider tanking without being in tanking armor that is more suitable for two or three raid tiers prior. Alternate PvE specs will likely get a lot more use now that players can try out new roles on a more competitive ilvl. Imagine having your 4 piece set bonus and switching to Prot! This change will also apply to PvP, which is a welcome change for many classes.
Speaking of PvP, a very welcome change is coming that will have people using the same Arena gear. No longer will you struggle in rated Arenas while you earn enough Conquest points to become competitive. Along with the resilience changes in Mists of Pandaria, this poises PvP to be skill based. Do you prefer flexing your PvP gear muscles in the outside world? That gear is still available for purchase, but will not function in ranked games.
You may be wondering, what about gems and enchants? They are on almost every piece of gear! You know what is on every piece of gear? Reforging! So much gold and bag space for switching specs. Fear not, for Blizzard has taken steps to make sure these obstacles are minimal:
1) Reforging: Removed! Blizzard felt it was too much of a penalty without enough fun to it. It caused people to hesitate on gear, fearing the cascade effect that so many of us are familiar with.
2) Gems: Less items will have gems, but they will increase in potency. I like this change because it makes gems feel special and more manageable for switching specs.
3) Enchants: These have also been reduced, which will make us feel them more as well as make gear less expensive to play with different specs.
4) What about Jewelcrafters’ and Enchanters’ pocketbooks? Blizzard stated that they will be creating new ways for them to make money, minimizing the economic impact for those professions.
A couple of other things. As I mentioned above about Brewmaster, armor will now be the primary tanking stat as Blizzard really likes active mitigation going forward. Hit, and expertise will no longer be a factor as they have been removed! The sigh of relief in the room when this was announced was universal. It appears that Blizzard’s philosophy for this expansion is to really remove obstacles and things that are useless wastes of time (looking at you hit and expertise) so we can maximize our time playing. Next up we will be discussing the exciting raid size and name changes! What are you most excited about?
It’s basically a trademark of Blizzplanet to speculate about everything Blizzard, especially beta testing. So here is a quick view into the history of statistics between the announcement of a World of Warcraft expansion, how many months after the announcement the beta testing started, and how long beta testing lasted.
The numbers vary from expansion to expansion, which makes it hard to guess-timate accurately, but the data below does gives us a glimpse into a date range when likely Warlords of Draenor beta might start.
World of Warcraft
Announced: September 2, 2001 (ECTS)
Beta Launch: February 2004
Release Date: November 23, 2004
Announced: October 28, 2005
Beta Launch: October 2006 (12 months after announcement)
Release Date: January 15, 2007 (3 months of beta testing)
Wrath of the Lich King
Announced: August 3, 2007
Beta Launch: July 17, 2008 (15 months after announcement)
Release Date: November 13, 2008 (4 months of beta testing)
Announced: August 21, 2009
Beta Launch: June 30, 2010 (10 months after announcement)
Release Date: December 7, 2010 (5 months and a week of beta testing)
Mists of Pandaria
Announced: October 21, 2011
Beta Launch: March 21, 2012 (5 months after announcement)
Release Date: September 25, 2012 (6 months of beta testing)
World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor was announced at BlizzCon 2013 on November 8th, 2013.
Based on the data from past expansions, especially post-Mists of Pandaria, one might extrapolate that Warlords of Draenor should start approximately 5 months after BlizzCon 2013 — within April 2014 – May 2014. Note: The window for Warlords of Draenor actually opens up from April to September (counting the 10 months range of Cataclysm’s announcement to beta testing); but that would push release date by February-March 2015 (which is not good at all).
World of Warcraft expansions have mostly been released on November — with the exception of Cataclysm (December 7) and Burning Crusade (January 15).
For Warlords of Draenor to ship on November, beta should start on May 2014.
May – Starts
June – 1st Month
July – 2nd Month
August – 3rd Month
September – 4th Month
October – 5th month November – 6th month (release date)
However, there is an equation that might completely debunk any potential speculative beta/release date. Blizzard Entertainment once more mentioned they wish to release expansions in a yearly basis. That has been said again and again in the past few years, and it hasn’t happened. What if this time that kicks in in 2014? Blizzard might surprise us with a brand new trend. None of these past beta and release dates would mean squat.
What if beta started early 2014? I don’t know how long a beta testing period would last for a yearly expansion time-table. Would it still be six months of beta testing? Would they shift the yearly expansions to release on July? Usually, RTS games are released around July — so in that case, January-February would need to be the beta launch time-frame. With July the release date.
With the data presented above, when do you guesstimate Warlords of Draenor beta might start?
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Dota 2 is complicated. It doesn’t have a learning curve so much as a learning wall. The volume of information to memorize and master is immense and intimidating: the multitude of hero builds, items, crafting, ward locations, creep respawn timers, rune types and timers, the hundreds of hero powers and status effects that can change them. Factor in team fight tactics, lane strategies, and meta game organization and the game has moved from complex to daunting, even unwieldy. That’s just the knowledge required to play, not the mechanical skill required from the player like last hitting, hero ability timing, and map awareness. I’ve put more 500 hours into Dota 2, and about as many in the original, and I’m passable with a few heroes.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with Heroes of the Storm so in my first game at BlizzCon I dropped my expectations. Whatever I played was whatever I was going to judge the game on. I’ve read the briefs from Blizzard, watched the videos, but I wanted to go in as open as possible. I did, I think. Over the course of the two day Blizzard celebration I spent about 4 hours with Heroes of the Storm and played 6 games with different heroes each time. My time certainly wasn’t wasted. Heroes is fun, but that’s almost unnecessary to say as a fan of MOBAs. It’s got the standard trappings – lanes, heroes, pushing, and frantic team fighting – but Heroes does a few things differently.
First, there are no items (and no gold!). None. At all. No health potions, no tangos, no town portal scrolls. Your hero has a town portal ability that recharges. I don’t miss the items. They serve a purpose in other MOBAs but items usually come with the baggage of being boring most of the time. They improve stats or damage, rarely adding powers or altering the ones a hero has. It’s easy to be crippled by missing an item or two because you’re not attacking as fast as you should be. The lack of items means the hero powers improve significantly on their own or via talents. It’s a simple system that leaves more cognitive power for fighting and less for GPM and shopping.
No last hitting. This isn’t unique to Heroes, *cough*League of Legends*cough*, but it’s not common either. Last hitting is usually the sign of a precise, skilled player in Dota. It’s how you earn most of your gold. With no gold to gather, last hitting has gone out the window. I don’t mind it in Dota but I didn’t miss it here.
Shared XP. Not reduced XP when another hero is close by, but even, shared XP for all heroes. Everyone levels at the same time. Your carries won’t be 22 while your support are struggling at 10. The even power curve makes everyone solid in a team fight – no Crystal Maiden syndrome.
Mounts! What’s a Blizzard game without animals you can sit on? Mounts do exactly what you’d expect – they help the heroes move faster. Easier grouping, more team fights. Everyone wins, except those that die.
The differences Heroes has from the other MOBAs reflect the game’s thesis: it’s about the hero punching, plain and simple. There are creep waves and towers and forts but Heroes wants you and your friends to square off against 5 opponents and beat each other silly. It succeeds on that goal – no one I spoke with didn’t enjoy their time with Heroes and want more.
So who were the heroes I played?
Falstad and Nova from the Assassins, Sonya from the Warriors, Malfurion and Uther from Support, and Abathur from the Specialists type. The highlights:
I enjoyed Malfurion the most but that’s because I’m biased – I love playing support and looking like a weirdo. He heals well, roots, and silences.
Uther heals well, gives his buddies invulnerability through Divine Shield, and can stun. Like any paladin, he’s sort of a frustration to counter but rewarding to play.
Nova is a sniper. Chances are that if she shot you, you’re not going to live very long. She hits hard, summons an annoying clone, and can call a nuclear strike. It’s as great as it sounds.
Abathur is…different. He’s interesting. He’s a mix of Lifestealer and Wisp which makes him absolutely terrible to fight against. He’s rated “Very Hard” to play and it shows.
It’s not that Falstad isn’t fun, it’s that the others were much more fun. I really liked flying over the jungle and descending on enemies as a hammer throwing alcoholic.
Sonya didn’t feel particularly special. Her abilities are simple and straight forward, as one would expect a barbarian would be. Maybe for the carries out there that like fighting and fighting and fighting (any Alchemist fans?) but she was the lull in my hero selection.
Heroes is a fun game so far. I want to play more. Boy do I want to play more. Hint hint, community reps. It’s got some room to grow and I look forward to watching (and hopefully playing) as it does so.
Hello everybody, I know this is a few days post BlizzCon, but its the thought that counts, right? Anyways, the Warlords of Draenor demo from BlizzCon has been covered elsewhere; so this won’t be quite like the other descriptions of it. Instead I’ll be focusing on some neat tidbits I found, as well as some potential theories to the expansion’s plotline. Take the jump downwards to find out more!
Fill out all three options in the form below to enter as participant of this giveaway. Please only one entry per participant. I do check them one by one and will notice. Ends Tuesday, Nov 12 at 7pm EST.
SIGNING AT BARNES & NOBLE – ROGERS, ARKANSAS | NOVEMBER 22ND 6PM – 9PM!
I will be part of a multi-author event on Friday, 11/22! We’ll have copies of DAWN OF THE ASPECTS, WAR OF THE ANCIENTS omnibus, and most of the DRAGONREALM SERIES!
DAWN OF THE ASPECTS TRADE DUE OUT NOVEMBER 19TH!
Yes, at long last, the trade version will be available! Find it at your local BN, order from Amazon, or, if you are interested in a personalized copy, it’s $18 for US readers, while other countries should email first!
CHAPTER 1 OF LEGENDS OF THE DRAGONREALM: THE GRYPHON MAGE NOW OUT TO SUBSCRIBERS!
The sequel to DRAGON MASTERS has begun! The Turning War continues…
US subscribers – $25 for serialized story, full PDF and personalized trade after! Other countries $12.99 for serial and full PDF! If desiring a trade paperback afterward, email first!
AND BE SURE TO TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND LOCAL LIBRARIES TO PICK UP LEGENDS OF THE DRAGONREALM VOL. IV IF THEY HAVE NOT!
Another round of great cosplayers with Blizzard QA II Cynthia Hall as Malthael, and fans disguised as Imperious, Tyrael, Jaina, Witch Doctor, Draenei, High Inquisitor Whitemane, a Mist Creeper, a female orc and a female elf. Even a dog cosplayed dressing up as a BlizzCon 2008 Big Blizzard Bear mount. More Cosplay over at Day One photos.
DPerschonok got the chance to take a few photos with Ben Brode and Jason Chayes (Hearthstone team).
This is a transcript of the entire one-hour Warcraft Movie Presentation Panel held at BlizzCon 2013. Feel free to share with friends. — Medievaldragon
Introduction: Welcome to the Warcraft Movie Presentation Panel. Your panelists are Duncan Jones, Rob Pardo, Chris Metzen, Bill Westenhofer, and Nick Carpenter.
Metzen: Wuzzup, BlizzCon?
Pardo: Alright, everyone. Welcome to the Warcraft Movie Panel. We did this I think three years ago or something like this? But this time, I think it’s going to be 10 times the excitement as we actually have a release date for the movie.
I want to introduce everyone to the panel. To my right is Duncan Jones. He is the director for the Warcraft movie. He’s director of a couple of really awesome films you guys have seen: MOON and SOURCE CODE. And more importantly to you guys, Duncan has been playing Warcraft games since Warcraft One (aka Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, RTS), played Warcraft II, Warcraft III, World of Warcraft — even played Lost Vikings.
I think you guys all know the gentleman to my left, which is Chris Metzen. The guy in charge of all lore, story and franchise direction at Blizzard and pretty much all the soul at Blizzard. So we are going to talk a lot more about the movie and all what we are trying to do with it. And then to his left is Bill Westenhofer. Bill is the special effects supervisor for the film. He actually won the Oscar twice for Life of Pi and The Golden Compass.