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World of Warcraft

Blizzard's Tom Chilton on World of Warcraft's slow content pace

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Patches, News Items, Subscription

Blizzard's Tom Chilton has been making the rounds this week in one candid interview after another. World of Warcraft website Icy Veins recently asked him directly why recent content releases haven't been meeting the originally planned six-month cadence, and Chilton didn't dodge, explaining that scaling the team up to make Warlords of Draenor resulted in a later-than-desired pace for releases:
We did a good job earlier in Mists of Pandaria, having the content come at a more frequent intervals, and certainly we had hoped to have Warlords of Draenor out a couple of months ago. The reality is that scaling up the number of people that we have, to work on multiple projects at once has slowed us down. Honestly, it should have not come as a surprise to us. We increased the size of the team by 50% and the majority of those people had never worked on World of Warcraft before or any other MMO, so it is really difficult for them to create content right away, without getting up to speed. So we ended up redoing a lot of the content that we were doing for Warlords to make sure that we would get it at the quality level that we would expect. Also, the garrison feature turned into a bigger thing than we expected it to be. Quality is the most important thing, so if we have to make a choice between getting you something two months ago or getting you a great expansion in November, the choice is obvious. I think we are in a better position now for the future, we already have zones in production for our next expansion. So, if things go well, there will be less of a gap.
Chilton also discusses alternative subscription models for niche players (there are no plans for such), the possibility of making Outland and Northrend parallel level 60-80 content paths, and the potential for visual and aural upgrades beyond character models.

Jukebox Heroes: The music of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Opinion, Jukebox Heroes, Music

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Cataclysm was the first World of Warcraft expansion that I was not there to experience. While I initially applauded the idea of the devs changing the world and bringing the new tech to old spots, that fundamental change in the land that I used to know so well ended up causing me pain. Nobody likes to think of something beloved changed and lost forever. So I stayed away and missed what is probably the worst-reviewed expansion to date.

As such, it was the first WoW expansion score that I listened to outside of the game. To my ears, it was substantially darker than previous efforts, although there contained moments of beauty and excitement. Due to the nature of the expansion, the soundtrack is all over the place thematically, occasionally rewriting old zone music (alas).

The one thing that really pops out at me from this album is how the composers extensively used various background sound effects and noises to suppliment the tunes. I'm not sure if these were added for the album or if these exist in-game, but they certainly add more in terms of atmosphere. Interestingly enough, one of my all-time favorite World of Warcraft tracks came from this expansion, so it certainly wasn't a wasted effort.

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Blizzard is already working on World of Warcraft's sixth expansion

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Interviews, Subscription

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Warlords of Draenor? That's yesterday's news, my friend. The progressive World of Warcraft player should already be looking forward to expansion number six, which Blizzard says is in full production.

Game Director Tom Chilton confirmed that the team is already hard at work at the follow-up to Warlords of Draenor. "We already have zones in production for it," he said to Gameplanet, adding that the team will also be looking at the theme for the seventh expansion "over the next several months."

Chilton indicated that World of Warcraft has a long life yet to come: "Beyond that, there are about six or seven different ideas for expansions that we can take elements of and say, 'You know what? Let's take that and put it in this one for our next expansion after the next one.' [...] As long as there are enough players demanding that we make more content then we're likely to do so. I think it'll be quite a while before the financials indicate that it's just not worth doing anymore."

Robin Williams models possibly spotted in World of Warcraft files

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Subscription

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Apparently Blizzard is making good on its word to include the late Robin Williams in an upcoming World of Warcraft build, as players have found a character named Robin <The Entertainer> tucked away in the game files.

Datamining through Warlords of Draenor's files turned up three models for Robin, including a djinn (Disney's Aladdin), a human female with a man's voice (Mrs. Doubtfire), and a human male with suspenders (Mork). There are theories floating around that the djinn will morph into the other two characters while putting on a show for players, although we won't know for sure until the expansion releases this November.

On the day following Robin William's death, fans petitioned the Blizzard to include a tribute to the comedian as he had been an avid WoW player through the years. Blizzard responded by saying that it was "working on it."

Blizzard's Chilton: Expansions are barriers to people coming back

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items

In the aftermath of World of Warcraft's latest subscriber number downturn, Blizzard game designer Tom Chilton says he's unsure if the fantasy MMORPG will rebound like it has in the past. "We really don't know if it will grow again," he said, according to MCVUK. "It is possible, but I wouldn't say it's something that we expect. Our goal is to make the most compelling content we can."

Chilton also touched on Blizzard's decision to provide a level 90 character with its Warlords of Draenor expansion. "By building expansions, you are effectively building up barriers to people coming back. But by including the level 90 character with this expansion, it gives people the opportunity to jump right into the new content," he said.

World of Warcraft's Chinese partner sees increase in profit and revenue

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Economy, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Diablo III, Hearthstone

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Earlier this month, Blizzard claimed that a "disproportionate" amount of its 800,000 lost World of Warcraft subscribers were from the east. While that may be, China is doing quite well with the studio's games.

Gamasutra reports that Blizzard's partner in the region, NetEase, posted a "modest rise" in both profit and revenue during the second quarter. The company reported revenue of $376.6M, a rise of 13% from last year. This financial summary includes NetEase's own titles along with World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, and Hearthstone. Hearthstone was singled out as a "strong earner" due to its recent launch in the region.

Both Blizzard and NetEase are working to bring Diablo III and Heroes of the Storm to the country in the future.

WoW getting a price hike in the UK

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

A Blizzard moderator spilled the beans regarding World of Warcraft's upcoming price hike over the weekend. The catch, so far, is that the increase only applies in the UK. The fantasy MMO will transition from £8.99 ($15.00) to £9.99 ($16.72) per month, while 90- and 180-day sub prices will also rise.

The firm mentions "changes in light of local and regional market conditions" as factors behind the price increase.

Gamescom 2014: Blizzard says World of Warcraft 2 is 'something we have talked about'

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, MMO Industry, Subscription

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World of Warcraft fans are not the only ones who have speculated about a sequel to the hit MMO. Blizzard Game Director Tom Chilton gave a surprisingly non-evasive answer at this year's Gamescom about whether the company was thinking about creating World of Warcraft 2.

"It's something we have talked about," Chilton said. "It's something we have talked about for 10 years. I think that there are a lot of challenges there in seeing how World of Warcraft 2 relates to World of Warcraft, do they live alongside each other, does one feed into the other, what is that product, etc. These are challenges that have to be figured out before that becomes a reality."

WoW Archivist: The classic Molten Core experience

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Hands-On, Dungeons, Subscription, WoW Archivist

Lucifron
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 August 15th and is included here by permission.

Are you ready to return to the Core? Last week, we learned that Blizzard is planning a 40-player LFR version of classic's Molten Core raid as part of WoW's 10th anniversary celebration. Regardless of what the studio has in mind, the experience is certain to be very different than it was back in 2005.

Sure, you've probably solo'ed MC or cleared it with a few friends. But what was a Molten Core run like during classic WoW, when conquering Ragnaros and his fiery lieutenants was the pinnacle of endgame content?

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Check out Warlords of Draenor's collector's edition

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Diablo III, Subscription, Hearthstone

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With yesterday's announcement of World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor's launch date fresh on fans' minds, Blizzard has followed up on the hype with details concerning the contents of the expansion's collector's edition.

The CE, which is priced at $89.99 on Amazon, includes the full game, a behind-the-scenes DVD/Blu-ray set, the soundtrack, a 160-page art book, and a mouse pad. Of course, if digital goodies are more your style, then you'll be happy to know that you'll get a Dread Raven mount and Dread Hatchling pet for World of Warcraft, two StarCraft II portraits, a pennant for Diablo III, and a custom card back for Hearthstone.

Blizzard said that supplies of the collector's edition are limited.

World of Warcraft adding party finder functionality

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

You might think this is the same functionality that's been in addons and in other games for a year or more, but there are key differences.  For example, this one is part of the expansions!  That's a big different.  Also, look over there.
World of Warcraft is expanding the functionality of its group finder tool in Warlords of Draenor so that making a group is easier than just inviting your friends and shouting in a city. The new group finder interface is designed to help players locate parties looking for the same content, from pre-made PvP groups to teams trying to take out a particularly obnoxious group quest in the zone.

Group finder groups can be designated for PvE or PvP, with the former allowing for a variety of group-based PvE encounters (quests, dungeons, raids) and the latter opening up for PvP options (rated battlegrounds, arenas of all sizes, faction leader assaults, and so on). Players can either join a group or start a new one, with leaders setting both the designated goal and the requirements for would-be party members to join. Take a look at the full preview for more information on this expanded functionality.

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor releasing November 13th

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Video, Expansions, MMO Industry, Subscription

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World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor will be coming to players this November 13th.

"The age of the whimsical panda is over!" Chris Metzen proclaimed to a crowd of cheering fans at the Ace Theatre in Los Angeles.

During the street date announcement, Blizzard talked about the lore of the expansion and showed the first episode of a new five-part animated lore mini-series called Lords of War. The studio also showed the opening cinematic for Warlords of Draenor, after which the release date was mentioned for the first time.

We've got the first episode of Lords of War, the animated series teaser, and the cinematic for you after the break!

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World of Warcraft spotlights Draenor's new Troll models

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Previews, News Items, Races

WoW
Today's World of Warcraft Artcraft blog is all about Trolls. No, not the trolls who plague internet comment sections everywhere; the playable Troll race that outcools all the other Horde races. Blizzard's Chris Robinson spotlights the new models for both the male and female Trolls, noting that the race's tusks posed "unique challenges":
In the character customization options, you have the ability to select from a number of tusk "styles." While other race models (like the Tauren) have similar customization options, the additional modeling, texturing, and animation articulation of the Troll face-and mouth especially-made this a distinctive challenge. We actually had to model the Troll with a flat lower lip; then, for each facial customization option, we went in and posed their lips to naturally wrap around each tusk option.
We've included a pic of the female Trolls below.

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Petition to memorialize Robin Williams in World of Warcraft allegedly gets Blizzard's attention

World of Warcraft, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, All Points Bulletin, Miscellaneous

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Everyone is talking today about the passing of the great comedian Robin Williams, and while it certainly is sad for those of us who grew up loving his TV and movie work, we're also celebrating his legacy and learning a lot about his life. For instance, did you know that Williams was an avid video gamer who spent quite a bit of time in World of Warcraft under an anonymous name?

One fan did and thought that a great way to remember Williams would be to add him into World of Warcraft as an NPC. Thus he started a Change.org petition earlier today to do just that. With over 10,000 signatures added since then, the movement apparently caught the attention of Blizzard. "An amazing development has just happened," the petition author added in an update. "Celestalon has seen the petition and has been quoted as saying, 'We're taking care of it.'"

Robin Williams is being memorialized in other MMOs as well. One player took the above screenshot from APB, noting how a fellow gamer created and uploaded the in-game poster as a tribute to the man.

[Update: The official WoW Twitter account just tweeted, ".@robinwilliams Thank you. You gave us so much joy in our lives, and we hope you enjoyed your time in our world. We'll see you in-game."]

One Shots: There's no bear in panda

World of Warcraft, Screenshots, Culture, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous, WildStar

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As much fun as it is to be corrected by know-it-alls who like to huff things like, "You can't call them panda bears; they're not bears, you know!" it's even more fun to say, "Yuh-huh they're bears! And your face also has a ursine visage, especially around the snout."

I don't even know why I brought that up. It certainly has nothing to do with our opening screenshot from reader JohnD, who writes, "While starting off with my new Pandaren Monk in World of Warcraft, I came across these delightful Pandaren children, who seemed more than happy to just chat with me and occasionally wave. After a few minutes they quickly ran off -- but not before making my adventures a little more fun!"

But they're not bears. Or are they? Yes. No. I don't know.

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