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World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft gives a week of free game time to lapsed players

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Promotions, Subscription

mists
If you're a former World of Warcraft player who's been away from the game for a while, you might want to check your account for a nice surprise. Blizzard has activated a free seven-day pass to the game for all lapsed players. This pass includes all of the content up through Mists of Pandaria.

World of Warcraft is also throwing a 25% off sale for its extra services, including character transfers, faction changes, guild transfers, and (you guessed it) guild faction changes.

The Think Tank: What will MMOs look like a decade from now?

World of Warcraft, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

WoW
A reader in my Working As Intended column last week penned this thought-provoking gem:
"I have no idea what games will look like say in 10 years time. I am sure some of these current games will still be going and doing well because of the investment of those playing them now. What new stuff will be coming out then, I have no idea, especially as the 'Minecraft generation' gets older."
What will the Minecraft generation make of World of Warcraft? What will MMOs look like in 10 years? These are the questions I asked Massively's writers in today's Think Tank.

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World of Warcraft to relocate Oceanic servers to Aussie data center

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Business Models, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items

WoW
Blizzard has just announced a new Australian server infrastructure for World of Warcraft, deploying ahead of the release of Warlords of Draenor in November. The existing Oceanic servers (Barthilas, Frostmourne, Thaurissan, Saurfang, Caelestrasz, Jubei'Thos, Khaz'goroth, Aman'Thul, Nagrand, Dath'Remar, Dreadmaul, and Gundrak) will physically move to a new Australian data center, ensuring reduced latency for players down under. Aussie and Kiwi players currently housed on North American shards will be granted free but optional character transfers and guild master realm transfers in the two weeks leading up to Draenor; Blizzard assures Oceanic players that LFG and PvP pools and queue times won't suffer unduly as a result.

In other WoW news, PC Gamer has a new interview with lead encounter designer Ion Hazzikostas, in which he discusses the "obstacles" facing aging games, the dilemma of graphics upgrades, and the non-Blizzard MMOs he enjoys. When asked about subscription models across the industry, Hazzikostas reiterated that subs still make sense for WoW: "We deliver high value for the monthly subscription because it allows us to provide a steady stream of content, and we don't have any plans to move away from that any time soon."

World of Warcraft previews the creatures of Gorgrond

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Lore, Previews, News Items, Subscription

Hello, I'm more interesting than orcs.
Draenor is not the same as Azeroth. Sure, the release of Warlords of Draenor will bring the heroes of Azeroth into a lush and vibrant version of Draenor, but World of Warcraft players will have to deal with creatures that most decidedly do not exist on Azeroth. Case in point: The preview of the creatures who inhabit Gorgrond shows off sentient plants and stones that have stood and wage war against one another on the steppes and in the jungles of the region.

The Botani are a race of sapient plants that wage war against the Gronn, the Goren, and their minions. They revere their walking demigods, the Genesaurs, and they are more than capable of gestating the seeds of their offspring in living hosts to produce shambling beasts called the Infected. Take a look at the full preview for more lore details, and get ready to sharpen your sword against a hostile plant-person when Warlords of Draenor releases.

Metallica will rock out at BlizzCon 2014

World of Warcraft, Culture, Events (Real-World), News Items, Promotions, Miscellaneous

MetallicaImagine that you're a big-name game developer with a pile of money and millions of fans to impress at your yearly convention. Would you hire your favorite band from your youth to play a custom gig? Hell yeah you would! And so would Blizzard, which is why the studio's just announced that Metallica will be performing at BlizzCon next month. It's the perfect band to listen to while riding around on your Azeroth Chopper and playing your Orc.

"We're thrilled to announce that Metallica will be performing the closing concert at BlizzCon 2014, playing before a sold-out convention crowd on the night of November 8!" Blizzard gushed in its announcement post earlier today. "If you didn't score tickets to the show, don't worry -- you can still get a front-row seat from home with the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket."

Hey, at least it's not Blink-182.

World of Warcraft gives players a 100% chance to get heirlooms for Warlords of Draenor

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Subscription

wow
The World of Warcraft faithful are busy devouring the recent Patch 6.0.2 in anticipation for the much larger expansion pack that's coming next month. To help players prepare for Warlords of Draenor, Blizzard is currently running a Smash 'n Grab event that will award players prized heirlooms.

By running any difficulty level of Siege of Orgrimmar, players will get a 100% chance to obtain their first Garrosh weapon if they haven't already for that difficulty. The caveat is that players will have to run this without the assistance of the raid finder.

The Smash 'n Grab event is currently running and will end on November 13th.

World of Warcraft bounces back to 7.4 million subscribers

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, Subscription

We just use this header every time.  It's easier than really analyzing.  Don't hate.
The launch of Warlords of Draenor is still a month away, but just the approach is enough to bump the numbers for World of Warcraft. Blizzard Entertainment announced that the game is at 7.4 million subscribers as of the end of September, a bump of 600,000 over the previous announcement of 6.8 million subscribers.

As this is a statement from Blizzard rather than the usual earnings calls with subscriber numbers, no reasons are given for the upswing; since the subscriber numbers were listed as of September 30th, the jump occurred before the pre-expansion patch. Regardless, it's another point of data for those who are tracking these things with a chart.

Chinese World of Warcraft fan has created a flying machine

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, News Items, Subscription

Like this, but a bit less mobile.  (Picture from WoWpedia)
Where are you going to find Khorium in the real world? Or Felsteel? Those substances are relatively rare even in World of Warcraft; you have to assume that they're even harder to find in the real world. But an enterprising fan apparently located them, as evidenced by the fact that he built himself a Turbo-Charged Flying Machine in real-life for the rest of the world to look at in admiration.

Before you ask, no, it obviously does not fly. It's also designed to fit a small Goblin doll rather than allowing anyone who walks past it on the street to slide into the cockpit. It's still an awesome feat of engineering, and you can check out pictures of the finished project and the manufacturing process over on NGA.

World of Warcraft moves toward Warlords of Draenor with Patch 6.0.2

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Patches, Promotions, Subscription

wow
You won't need to wait until next month to start experiencing Warlords of Draenor, as the expansion's preparation patch released today with several new features.

Patch 6.0.2: The Iron Tide will destroy World of Warcraft's famous Dark Portal landmark, prune away some class abilities, enact the talked-about "stat squish," update most of the racial models with better visuals, put in a toybox, include a special revised version of the Upper Blackrock Spire dungeon, and add prologue quests in the Blasted Lands against the Iron Horde.

With the patch also comes a change in the game's retail package. The Mists of Pandaria expansion is now bundled with with the rest of World of Warcraft and is on sale for $20. You can get an overview of Patch 6.0.2 in the video after the jump.

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WoW Archivist: Class protests and the Million Gnome March

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Bugs, Business Models, Classes, Culture, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, WoW Archivist

Naked gnomes everywhere
WoW Archivist is a biweekly column by WoW Insider's Scott Andrews, who explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold? It first appeared on our sister site on October 8th, 2014, and is included here by permission.

Betas make players nervous about their class. It happens every time. Blizzard makes changes, often drastically, and for better or worse some people hate the changes. I've been keeping my eye on the beta class forums since the Warlords beta began, and I've seen a lot of unhappiness this time around. The ability pruning that was one of Blizzard's major design goals for classes this year has removed depth from rotations, taken away both utility and cosmetic options, and in some cases radically altered or deleted abilities that players enjoyed. Beta testers have voiced strong opposition to many of the changes.

In 10 years, I haven't seen players this up in arms about class issues since classic WoW -- an era when many specs and mechanics were simply broken in PvE, PvP, or both.

This past Friday, something happened that I believed would never again happen in WoW: an in-game class protest. With much more open lines of communication from developers to players in recent years, I thought the game had matured beyond the point that such things would ever be necessary. But here we are, almost 10 years after the most famous class protest in WoW's history, and players once again felt the need to gather in Azeroth to voice their complaints.

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World of Warcraft launching patch 6.0.2 on October 14th

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Patches, News Items, Subscription

Tired of orcs?  No you aren't.  Have more.
It's been a while since a real patch hit the live servers of World of Warcraft, but that's all going to change soon. Specifically, it's going to change in four days from today. The pre-expansion patch for Warlords of Draenor will be hitting the live game on October 14th, bringing with it stat squishes, new character models, and all of the general improvements you'd expect going into the expansion.

Of course, there aren't many new systems to play around with aside from a handful of new talents... and the limited-time level 90 version of Upper Blackrock Spire. This 5-person dungeon will pit players against the forces of the Iron Horde and will, again, be available for only a little bit of time. The same is true of the pre-launch invasion event, which forces players to fight off Iron Horde attacks from beyond the Dark Portal. Take some screenshots of your current character model now, buy things with Justice and Valor points, and get ready for the patch in less than a week.

World of Warcraft's garrisons will send Leeroy Jenkins to protect you

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Previews, Dev Diaries, Subscription

wow
Part of the potential fun of owning, building, and operating a garrison in World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor is that you'll be leader to several NPCs known as followers. A new garrison dev diary today talked about the acquisition and benefits of followers and how that will change your gameplay.

Followers can be obtained through several means, including quests, reputation, and a once-a-week headhunter service. Once there, followers can be sent out in missions alone or as a group in order to bring back rewards for their kind and generous master. Players can accumulate up to 25 active followers of various quality types and can level them up over time.

Probably the most interesting facet of follower ownership is the use of a select handful as bodyguards. Players can attach a bodyguard to them for general world questing, asking such famous figures as Leeroy Jenkins to fight by your side. Once enough reputation with that NPC is reached, the bodyguard will attain several helpful abilities, such as being able to summon friends or create a portal back to your garrison.

Blizzard posts official BlizzCon schedule

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items

Yes, you're hoping that a secret announcement about the next expansion pack for World of Warcraft is coming.  You know what?  We'll go with that version of events.  It's a nicer story.
You've got your tickets purchased, your hotel arrangements squared away, your bags all packed. You're ready for BlizzCon this year! But leaving aside the fact that you can probably unpack your bags now as you've still got a month to go, what are you actually going to be doing at BlizzCon? That's what you can find out by taking a gander at the official schedule, which tracks the events of the day on both Friday and Saturday for World of Warcraft, StarCraft 2, Hearthstone, and Diablo III.

A floor map is also available so that congoers can get a feel for the layout before arrival, although that's of less interest to fans planning on taking advantage of the streaming options available for the convention. If you're thinking of buying a virtual ticket for the high-quality streams, take a look at the schedule and see if it's stuff you want to watch streaming live. Unless, as we said, you've already got your bags packed to go in person.

Leaderboard: Warlords of Draenor vs. Shadow of Revan

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Expansions, MMO Industry, Opinion, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Leaderboard

Last time in Leaderboard we pitted this winter's Warlords of Draenor expansion against this fall's Nightmare Tide expansion. This week, let's see how the top dog fares against another highly anticipated MMO content dump, this one bolstered by the worldwide media juggernaut that is Star Wars.

How about it, Massively readers? Warlords of Draenor or Shadow of Revan? Vote after the cut!

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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World of Warcraft shows off the dungeons of Warlords of Draenor

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Previews, Endgame, News Items, Dungeons, Subscription

Comes pre-loaded with all the draenei you can eat.
As the release of Warlords of Draenor inches ever closer, it's no surprise that players might want to know what dungeons they'll be running religiously for the next several months. The official World of Warcraft site has been updated with a preview of the eight new dungeons being added with the expansion, four of them intended for leveling along the way and four of them pegged at level 100 for players who have already reached the top.

On the leveling path, players will stop in the Bloodmaul Slag Mines, the Iron Docks, Auchindoun, and Skyreach. Once at the cap, they can start exploring the Shadowmoon Burial Grounds, the Everbloom, and the Grimrail Depot... or they can take a trip back to Azeroth to view the revamped Upper Blackrock Spire. Take a look at the full preview for more of the lore backdrop for the newest dungeon drives coming to the game in November.

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