The profile UI has been simplified a bit re-arranging where we used to see personal info about our characters. This is a look at the Profile’s Career Page — before and after.
The Profile page for each individual character has been also simplified drastically. Unless the current state is a placeholder, a lot of graphics have been trimmed out. Likely to enhance server stability, but that’s speculation on my part. This is how it looks on Diablo III vanilla and how it looks on Diablo III: Reaper of Souls.
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls will introduce several UI changes which alter the way you usually create a new game. For example, in Diablo III you would usually hit the Resume Game or Change Game buttons to start a game.
When you change a game, you will notice the level difficulty tab at the bottom. This is what you usually see in Diablo III when you wish to change a game and the difficulty:
It might get a bit confusing for people, if they don’t look at the bottom options some people might start a normal difficulty game instead of an Inferno or Nightmare game. So the Diablo III Team learned something there. The UI was setup in a vertical visual navigation; and that may cause problems. So the Diablo III Team came up with a horizontal navigation UI instead which simplifies how players visualize their options with a numbering system: 1, 2 and 3. Easy to understand. More user-friendly. This is how the UI looks like now in Reaper of Souls:
Option 1 is Game Mode: You have two options – Campaign Mode or Adventure Mode. In this case, I’ll choose the Campaign Mode.
Option 2 is Options: This tab allows you to change the Act (I-V), Sanctuary location and quest you wish to create a game in. Example: The Fallen Star, Bastion’s Keep, Beneath the Spire, Westmarch, etc.
Option 3 is Type: This tab offers two options. The difficulty (Normal, Hard, Expert, Master, or Torment) and the type of game (Public or Private). The Difficulty button opens a new window with a mosaic that allows you to choose any difficulty mode. Torment difficulty is available at level 70, by the way.
I was invited to the Friends & Family Beta of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment. Many thanks, Lylirra (Diablo III Community Manager). Big hugs.
I’ll begin with a Crusader character and see how things fare. This is an F&F beta testing, and things you might see in the livestream are not final, might be changed throughout many iterations. There might be bugs and service interruptions. Beware spoilers, too.
My YouTube account got livestream capability enabled a few months ago, so I’ll debut and experiment with it a bit. I’ll attempt to livestream around noon EST / New York. Keep in mind I am on a slow ISP, and might need to experiment with Kbps settings.
The Production Weekly Magazine issue #873 has listed new auditions for the Warcraft movie. The listing still mentions the codename “Conflagration”, but it added a new one along with that which says: “Lost in Gastown”.
Gastown is a small town with a train station terminal located in Vancouver. “Lost in Gastown” is sort of a joke because it will get flooded pretty soon with actors from other states coming to the audition.
I had the opportunity to take a look at the Production Weekly issue #583. I am not able to post an image because of copyright/trademark matters. It is a paid subscription magazine.
What I can confirm is that the audition listing mentions January 13 as the date to begin recording scenes. It is to be filmed at Vancouver.
The credits section mentions:
Producers: Charles Roven, Alex Gartner, Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Stuart Fenegan, Chris Metzen and Jillian Share.
Writer: Charles Leavitt
Director: Duncan Jones
Executive Producer: Brent O’Connor
PM: Cecil O’Connor
The interesting part is that at the end of all those credits is CAST: Travis Fimmel. That pretty much sounds like the rumor is no longer a rumor. Travis Fimmel is part of the cast now.
What I find strange is that the film description continues to mention Arthas Menethil before he became the Lich King.
At the end of the audition listing it says: Paula Patton is in advanced negotiations and Colin Farrell has been offered one of the leads.
Next to that it says these dates: January 13 – May 21.
Release Date: December 18, 2015.
So there you go. The filming will be ongoing for five months, and Travis Fimmel (Vikings TV Series, 2013) is listed in the credits as a Cast Member.
Duncan wishes to develop a Warcraft movie based on his view as a player of the game. He wants to go to the roots of what the original Warcraft was, which is you can be a hero no matter what side you are on; and it is about both sides. It’s gotta be red and blue. Horde and Alliance. Not just from the point of view of the Alliance as the original movie script was.
Another interesting thing that spun out of this panel is that Duncan Jones is hoping to have a preview of the Warcraft film by BlizzCon 2014. If that is not awesome news, then how about the fact Rob Pardo and Duncan Jones mentioned “Next Year’s BlizzCon”? After reading the details in a nutshell below, you may read our entire panel transcript here.
Orcs will be real actors, emotive as much as any human character.
There is a scene in the Lion’s Pride Inn (Goldshire)
Concept Art shows: Dalaran, Draenor, Iron Forge, Stormwind.
Many Blizzard Artists, including Wei Wang, contributed an estimated 4,000 pieces of concept art for the film.
The past six months (June-Nov 2013) has been focused on pre-production design.
Half the cast is live-action actors and the other half are motion-capture technology based actors.
Real costumes will be crafted for the actors performing with motion-capture technology to have photographic references for the animations.
Nick Carpenter and Blizzard Cinematics team are working with Duncan Jones (Film Director) and Bill Westenhoffer (VFX Supervisor).
The orcs will really act and have personalities.
The Costume designers will create full-size casts to build the real Blizzard-style costumes.
Motion-Capture technology has been used in Planet of the Apes, Avatar, and The Avengers.
The team working on the Warcraft film was the same who worked on the film THE HULK.
The team is creating a duplicate of Elwynn Forest. The trees will be created as physical props capturing their size and distribution across the landscape too.
Bill Westenhofer and Nick Carpenter plan to add easter eggs found in-game into the Warcraft film.
Legendary and Blizzard have worked in collaboration to make this film.
The film will be set during the First War, during Warcraft I: Orcs and Humans (1994).
The lead characters are Sir Anduin Lothar and Durotan of the Frostwolf clan.
Duncan hasn’t been able to find an actor to play as Durotan.
Lothar and Durotan represent the highest ideals for each of both races.
The film will be done from the point of view of the humans and the orcs. Equally. Both races are heroes.
Durotan did never show up in the first Warcraft game. Was added to the lore later. The film will be like the Ultimate Spider-Man line reintroducing the Ultimate Warcraft classic story.
Duncan Jones hopes to break barriers introducing a War movie told from the point of view of both sides. A unusual structure for a movie.
Duncan teased whether the film and Warlords of Draenor tie-in somehow or not.
Bill Westenhoffer compares the Warcraft movie with Gladiator (2000). Actors will get dirty, covered in grime.
The music of the film has to be true to the music of the game and the environment soundtracks.
The swords that are being built are the biggest swords that a human can wield.
The production of the film is being documented as it progresses. Photos and video taken. Duncan would love to see a “The Making of” Art Book or Behind-the-Scenes DVD. No plans yet.
If the film works out they would be excited to continue the story. Trilogy isn’t ruled out. Metzen teases many trilogies if they put their mind to it.
The Production Team is pushing to include strong female lead roles.
If the Warcraft movie succeeds Blizzard hopes to have TV studios knocking their door to launch a Warcraft TV series like Game of Thrones.
Lord of the Rings by Peter Jackson inspired Duncan Jones to wish to direct a fantasy movie.
Duncan thinks Peter Jackson has really set the bar as to what fantasy needs to be and anything the Warcraft movie team does has to match or beat that.
Duncan would like to have the Warcraft movie available in 2D and 3D so that fans choose which version to watch.
The Warcraft movie will be PG-13, but explains they can get their way with strong content with that rating, citing the Joker’s pencil scene in The Dark Knight was … PG-13.
During the Q&A a fan cited Avatar, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones had in common the development of linguistics for some races. Duncan Jones confirmed they have a linguistics team member who worked on some of those movies developing orcish language for the Warcraft movie.
Production Team Revealed
During the BlizzCon 2013 Warcraft Movie panel, Duncan Jones and Bill Westenhoffer revealed some of the team members in the Warcraft film production.
Gavin Bocquet: Production Designer for Star Wars: Episode I, II, III
Mayes C. Rubeo: Costume Designer for Avatar, World War Z, John Carter, Apocalypto, Dragonball: Evolution.
Paul Hirsh: Filming Editor for Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol (2011), Source Code (2011), Won an Oscar for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), Footloose (1984), Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Carrie (1976), Phantom of the Paradise (1974).
Alex Gartner: Producer of Season of the Witch (2011), DC Comics The Flash (2016). Get Smart (2008)
Simon Duggan: Cinematographer for 300: Rise of an Empire (2014), The Great Gatsby (2013), The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), I, Robot (2004)
Exciting times are coming for Diablo III players. Today, Blizzard Entertainment sent invites to many people to join the Friends & Family beta testing of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. No NDA. Closed Beta is going to be announced in a few weeks at a not yet determined date.
In the past, participants in this particular phase of public testing usually only include friends and relatives of Blizzard employees. With Reaper of Souls, however, we’ve decided to buck that trend and extend invites to valued media contacts and key members of the Blizzard community. We’re also inviting 3,000 of our most active Diablo III players from around the world who’ve opted in for beta testing—something we’ve never done for any Friends and Family Beta test before!
Participants in the Reaper of Souls Friends and Family Beta are not required to abide by a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). As a result, you may see coverage in the form of articles, videos, streams, and forum posts appear over the next few weeks regarding various features and changes in the expansion. When reviewing this coverage, please keep in mind that the Friends and Family Beta is still an early glimpse at Reaper of Souls, which means that all content is subject to change before release. We also encourage you to be mindful of story spoilers, as the Friends and Family Beta includes the entire expansion, excluding the final boss fight.
Reaper of Souls Closed Beta Coming Soon
Our Friends and Family Beta is just the first step of public testing, and by the end of the year we will be moving into Closed Beta. Since our Reaper of Souls Closed Beta test will also feature all content in the expansion (again, excluding the final boss fight), invitations will be extremely limited. However, we’ll continue handpicking community members to invite to the Closed Beta and bringing in additional players through opt-ins to ensure that all of our features like the Crusader, Mystic, and Adventure Mode get the testing they deserve.
If you’re interested in participating in the Reaper of Souls Closed Beta, please make sure you’ve opted-in for beta testing. You can do this by adjusting your Beta Profile Settings under the Account Management section of your Battle.net Account. Please note that opting in to the Reaper of Souls Closed Beta will not guarantee you access, but it will at least give you a chance at joining our beta test.
Public Test Region Access Also Coming Soon
Around the same time we begin our Reaper of Souls Closed Beta, we will also be launching our Public Test Region (PTR) for Patch 2.0.1! This patch will feature updates including Paragon 2.0, Loot 2.0, our new difficulty system, the addition of Clans and Communities, as well as balancing and tuning for all five Diablo III classes.
Anyone with the Battle.net Desktop App and Diablo III license will be able to participate in PTR testing. If don’t already have the Battle.net App, you can download and install it by clicking the button below.
We’ll have more information on how to access the Public Test Region when it launches. In the meantime, if you’d like more information on the Battle.net App, check out our FAQ and be sure to send us your feedback using the Battle.net App Open Beta Forum.
We’re incredibly excited about kicking off our public tests for Reaper of Souls, and look forward to collecting your feedback. The End of Days is coming!
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?