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World of Warcraft

WoW devs discuss environment and zone design

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, Dev Diaries

World of Warcraft senior art director Chris Robinson has penned a new dev blog focused on zone and environmental design. It's the first of a planned series that will use Nagrand as its primary example, and over the coming days you'll be hearing from additional quest and systems designers and even historians who "craft and create not only the zones we adventure in, but the visual story about these locations and the creatures and races that inhabit them."

World of Warcraft commercials are raiding your TV

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Promotions, Subscription

WoW
Blizzard is ramping up its Warlords of Draenor hype with a new series of World of Warcraft commercials aimed squarely at television viewers. The brief clips -- Grommash Death Stare, Bond of Iron, Iron Horde, and Conquerors -- evoke more Lord of the Rings than the WoW we all know. No gameplay is shown, though there's a sliver of an in-game level-up animation for a human. Spoiler: lots of orcs!

Anyone see any of these on TV yet? Enjoy all four commercials below.

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World of Warcraft gives behind-the-scenes tour of animated series

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Video, Expansions, Lore, Dev Diaries, Subscription

Blizzard has been paving the way for World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor with its recent animated miniseries, Lords of War. If you found that series particularly, erm, enThralling, then the devs have a treat for you. The team posted two behind-the-scenes videos talking about the story and art of the series, respectively, which you can watch after the jump!

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WoW Archivist: Patch 3.0, Echoes of Doom

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, Subscription, WoW Archivist

Patch 3.0.2 official poster
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 23rd, 2014, and is included here by permission.

Patch 6.0 is finally upon us. Like all pre-expansion patches, it has been both invigorating and chaotic. Almost exactly six years ago, a similar patch went live to begin a new era in WoW. Blizzard called Wrath of the Lich King's pre-expansion patch "Echoes of Doom." On October 14, 2008, this third version of the game gave us the brand-new achievement system, inscription and glyphs, 51-point talent trees, the zombie plague event, and TO THE GROUND, BABY. Read on to see what WoW was like for those turbulent few weeks before Wrath of the Lich King's launch.

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Perfect Ten: My World of Warcraft launch memories

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Launches, MMO Industry, Opinion, Perfect Ten, Subscription

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I'm really not a big fan of those constant reminders from the media as to how much time has gone by using pop culture as reference points. I'm really not. So I kind of hate myself for saying this, but friends, next month will be World of Warcraft's 10th anniversary! Ten years! How old are we now!

Back in November of 2004, I was a wide-eyed 28-year-old bachelor who had just met his future wife and was generally leery about MMOs to date. Now I'm a grizzled 38-year-old journalist, father of three, and veteran of more MMOs than I can count (because I cannot count past 22). A decade can contain so much history, especially when looked back all at once.

I played World of Warcraft for many years, and while most of the memories have faded and merged together in a technicolor morass, there are a few vivid recollections of the launch period that stir emotions in me even today. Ten years, 10 launch memories. I think that's appropriate.

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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

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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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