Year2014

Karma Police

Balance

' The Top

The Military Quarter just opened in Hearthstone and as new cards are released into the wild, the metagame shifts bit by bit. Blizzpro takes a look at the new Curse of Naxxramas cards and picks the top five game-changers.

! Lookin’ Good

Transmoggers rejoice! The bane of cute outfits is banished! Weapon enchant visuals make or break an attractive set of armor. Many times, the visual ends up mismatching – there’s only a small handful of relevant weapon enchants at one time. That means having to possibly put up with a horrible blinding yellow beam of light hiding the staff you spent weeks farming. Not for long! Crafticus confirmed that we will have the ability to change our weapon enchant visuals in WoD.


" Tap Dat

In a previous issue I linked to a post about outdated MMO tropes, which included mob tagging as one of the big no-nos. Gloriaboboria took it to the forums and players were overwhelmingly receptive. Watcher even stopped in to comment on the topic. Which had me excited until I figured out that he was getting around to saying, basically, “I see what you mean, but, nope.” To Blizzard, mob tagging helps questing stay social (although I have many experiences that say otherwise), so it doesn’t look like things will change anytime soon.

+ Alternative:Chat talks mob tagging: “Ten years on, a lot has changed in the gaming world, but people still resent the need to group with strangers to finish their content. Maybe it is because Blizzard keep giving them reasons to play alone in so many other places that they’ve gotten used to doing that as a preference.”

# History of the World: Part I

The Warcraft universe is an expansive one. Although we will celebrate the WoW 10th anniversary this November, Blizzard kicked off the Warcraft franchise with Warcraft: Orcs and Humans in 1994, a full 10 years before WoW was released. That’s a lot of lore. So many lores; what do I do with all of them? Nobbel87 put together an impressive video covering the history of Warcraft from start to present day.

& The zoos are coming! The zoos are coming!

PC Gamer’s Tim Clark interviews Hearthstone senior game designer Ben Brode and production director Jason Chayes about their favorite new Curse of Naxxramas card combos, their thoughts on Zoo madness, how the Gadgetzan Auctioneer almost faced the nerfbat, and (most of all! ahem) whether we’ll ever get more deck slots.

' Karma Police

Feckless Leader adds to his “Don’t Be That Player” series with a post on beggars – and how to be better at asking and giving – in the game. “In fact, I dare you to help out next time you encounter a beggar, but don’t just give your money away. Ask them what it’s for. Gear? Maybe they aren’t aware that they’re better off questing and running dungeons since any purchased gear would be quickly replaced. Gold? Turns out they want to buy bags, and you’ve got a tailor sitting on a ton of extra cloth. Either way, nobody gets hurt, a random player gets a little help, and you get to go to bed knowing you’ve made Azeroth better place for at least one person.”

% Boomchicken

Smh- created this week’s featured header image. Now with more (boom)chicken!

# Foxy

Blizzard is revamping Aspect of the Fox in WoD, allowing hunters and party members to cast on the move. Bendak explores a few fun things to do with the spell.

' Favoritest of Them All

Feelings of nostalgia are running high in the community since Blizzard’s recent announcement of the WoW 10th anniversary celebration. As we wait for what’s next, Sportsbard shares a timely post on his favorite patches. What’s yours? [Nostalgia feels intensify.]

+ Speaking of nostalgia, you should check out Alternative:Chat’s “10 Years :: 10 Questions” project and answer her questions via email, blog post, survey, or carrier pigeon.

Reunited and It Feels So Good

Road to Caldeum by Exphrasis

' Draenor’s Light

“She’s one of us. She reads far more like a player than an NPC — a level one who has cleverly managed to make it to level 10 without getting overrun by murlocs or wild boars. She isn’t brought in with trumpeted fanfare to save us all at the most intense moment of the Tanaan introductory experience — she’s quietly fighting her own way through the forces of the Iron Horde for survival, just like we are.” Anne Stickney introduces us to Yrel, one of the most anticipated new characters of Warlords.

# Ride the Wave

Although I keep meaning to give Proving Grounds a go, I’ve yet to step foot in them on any of my characters. So, it’d be an understatement to say that I’m pretty impressed with Akuyama, a mage on Outland-EU, who managed to break a world record by reaching wave 138 of endless Proving Grounds – Damage.

' Reunited and It Feels So Good

Alurlol’s WoW account was compromised and suspended by Blizzard in 2008. Not realizing the suspension could be appealed, they played on from scratch. Not long ago, Alurlol found their original CD key connected to the suspended account and wondered if it could be reinstated. Hey, it couldn’t hurt! After proving ownership, the account was reinstated and Alurlol logged in to the long-dormant account. Best of all? The Hand of A’dal quest was still in their log.

% Road to Caldeum

Exphrasis’s “Road to Caldeum” is this week’s featured header image.

' Get Lucky

“As the Hearthstone metagame has become more fully explored, many strong players have become frustrated at the lack of opportunities for skill expression. Unlike in chess—where the best player in the world is a 91% favorite when playing a single match against the 100th-best player—in Hearthstone, the best player is often only a marginal favorite when playing any reasonably good player with a good deck.” Elyot Grant discusses the role of luck in games, whether or not we’re better off without it, and what a game like Hearthstone would look like with all luck removed.

& Hunters Only

Hunters don’t really have the best reputation as a class. It’s just so easy to poke fun at nooby hunters who run through dungeons with Pack on or roll on every weapon that drops. Artemishowl won’t have it. She’s rallied the hunter community through Saturday hunter-only raids, and they’re kicking ass. The group has cleared tier 14 and 15 on normal, tier 14 on heroic, much of tier 15 on heroic, and they’re currently preparing to storm flexible Siege of Orgrimmar soon. Interested? Check out their planning thread.

' Theorycrafting 101

Theck is back with a series of blog posts for prospective theorycrafters. It may be easier to get into than you think. “On more than a few occasions I’ve been asked some variation of the question, ‘How do I get started in theorycrafting?’ Which is a tough question to answer, since there’s a variety of ways to get started depending on what you’re interested in and what talents or tools you have at your disposal.”

' What a Long, Strange Trip

“Last week marked five years since I started playing World of Warcraft. While a lot has changed in my life over the past five years, WoW has been a constant companion in my adventures. I’ve met so many funny and kind people who have brought immeasurable joy to my life, and I’m lucky to count some of them among my close friends now.” Arcane Ratsel shares five things learned over the last five years of playing WoW.

% Same Face

Despite the unfinished state of WoD, players insist on pointing out that things aren’t perfect. They’re afraid that the new models all have the same face. But Dark Legacy Comics has something to say about that.

' When You Gotta Go

Like it or not, WoW has helped to shape the landscape of gaming. Nearing its ten-year anniversary, we should ask how WoW could be better. How can the game shed its outdated tropes? Isn’t linear leveling and the lack of character customization just… old? Gloriaboboria discusses outdated MMO tropes that need to go.

But wait, there’s more!

Deathwing by Ookami-FAC

Welcome to a special double issue of Blizzlist featuring milestone podcasts, big Warlords of Draenor news, and in-depth blog posts from around the community.

# 100

The Realm Maintenance podcast hit its 100th episode milestone last week and Rho produced an epic episode to celebrate. Nearly 60 WoW community podcasters and podcast listeners chatted with Rho about how they got into podcasts and where they draw their inspiration from.

' The Black Stalker

Former Blizzard designer Alexander Brazie writes an awesome series of postmortems on WoW content he helped create. In one of his most recent posts in the series, he discusses The Black Stalker and how he learned that fun for designers doesn’t guarantee fun for players. To be honest, The Black Stalker was one of my least favorite dungeon bosses at the time. She was brutal! But reading about Brazie’s process makes me want to go back into The Underbog to battle her once again.

! Perky

“The guild leveling system was originally meant to be a reward for guilds. People who worked together got rewards. For the first ~6 months, this guild leveling system was awesome. After a year, or two, things went terribly wrong.” Lissana discusses the cash flow guild perk removal in WoD and the current state of predatory leveling guilds. Many players are upset at the removal of this perk, but it may not be so bad after all.

+ Players are upset about spell removal, too. The devs want to remove ability bloat in WoD, but many players are concerned that the flavor of classes will be nixed along with the cuts. Once it was discovered that Heroic Strike would be removed, the Warrior community rallied around this memorial site to keep the iconic spell in the game.

" Wait for It

Pricing info on Curse of Naxxramas, Hearthstone’s first expansion, has finally been released after some delay. Blizzard details heroic mode, the wing-per-week release schedule, and the cost of each. At 700 gold or $6.99 per wing, the pricing isn’t unreasonable. Now if I could discover a Ragnaros in my next pack, I’d be a really happy camper.

' If Looks Could Kill

What happens when you take a look at your “new” character in WoD and you don’t like what you see? Lately, folks previewing their future toons via Wowhead’s profiler aren’t always pleased. It’s not surprising – after years of play, we form a connection with our in-game avatar. “The most pressing issue, at least for me, is being able to find a way to reconcile the past ‘look’ and the present ‘change’ with a measure of satisfaction. I’m seeing increasing numbers of people who are looking at their models side by side and getting a shock at what they are provided with.” Alternative Chat chats about the new character models.

! Raaaaage

It all started when Lead Game Designer Mumper answered a simple question on Twitter about faction hubs in Warlords of Draenor. Turns out, players were pretty committed to Karabor and Bladespire.


+ Confusion was rampant among the pitchfork-wielding mobs who wanted faction hubs to stay where they were originally announced. It was so bad that Community Manager Lore had to clarify a few things. For the record, I think Karabor as a hub would have been rad.

' Coming Home

We’ve spent almost ten years in the World of Warcraft exploring virtual mountain ranges and basking in pixelated sunsets. I’ve always loved the landscape of Grizzly Hills – it reminds me of my home here in the northwest.

Grizzly Northwest

Syrco Owl shares the locations in WoW that remind them of home. Where in the game do you feel at home?

% The Worldbreaker

This week’s featured header is Ookami-FAC’s painting, “Deathwing.”

' Are we there yet?

“What you’re really trying to achieve is a bit of distance and a change in perspective. Take a step back from the game, from your guild, from your raids, from your guild members. Distance will help bring you out of your current headspace and make it easier to perhaps look at things in a different way.” At this point in the expansion, many players are feeling burned out. Or close to it. Kurn talks about how to change your perspective and what to do – especially as a guild master or raid leader – to avoid the dreaded burnout.

" Gettin’ Weird

Archybaldy on Reddit Diablo asks the community for their non-standard builds. Players offered up Zoosaders, Sword and Board Demon Hunters, Poison Pet Witch Doctors, Holy Monks and a bunch of other random things. With a rundown of each unique build, how to use it, and what could make it better, you can try a fiery tornado stompy pet Barbarian, too.

! But wait, there’s more!

Spazzo, a rogue in Blood Legion, pointed out that although Garrisons will not be required for end-game progression, players may earn a bonus roll per week from their Armory building. What’s up with that? Seems pretty “required” to me. Turns out, it’s just another way to earn one of our three bonus rolls per week in WoD. Put away your torch!


& The Rest of Us

The International eSports Federation (IeSF) decided that in order to legitimize eSports, they had to incorporate gender segregation into their tournaments, à la traditional sports. Then shit blew up, so I Storified the whole thing.

' My First Time

We all have our first. Exalted reputation, that is. Thinking back, a few early reputation grinds stick out for me, especially Brood of Nozdormu. The Grumpy Elf talks about first rep grinds and how things just aren’t the same these days. What rep was your first?

" Mrglmrglmrgl

How would one best gear up a character at this point in the expansion? What’s the best way to keybind an Elemental shaman? The Reddit WoW community hosts Murloc Mondays every Monday for players of all skill levels to get their questions answered. If you haven’t stopped by yet, check it out.

! It’s real!

Paging Gloriaboboria! Senior Game Designer Jonathan LeCraft revealed what we have all been waiting for: A Corgi companion! But with savage lava cuteness.


# Why so angry?

The Angry Chicken recorded their latest episode live at Nerdtacular 2014. They covered the (previous) lack of Curse of Naxxramas updates, sexism in eSports, and took many, many questions from the audience.

& Farewell

Rob Pardo, Chief Creative Officer at Blizzard Entertainment, announced his departure from the company last week. “After 17 years at Blizzard, with long and careful contemplation, I have made a difficult and bittersweet but ultimately exciting decision to pursue the next chapter in my life and career,” Pardo wrote in a farewell message. His next move? He’s not ready to reveal it yet, but he’ll have an answer for us “when it’s ready.”

" Think Different

D3 players have been testing new Greater Rifts in the PTR and have a lot to say. How can you buff a rift in a more meaningful way than simply scaling the health and damage of the mobs? Aeneas started a thread on the forums to solicit ideas from fellow community members.

! Get to tha console!

Newegg accidentally listed an item described as a Warlords of Draenor Xbox Live Credit and the whole internet went nuts for a few hours. Did Newegg accidentally leak major news? Will Blizzard really put WoW onto the console? THIS IS WHY THEY’RE PRUNING OUR ABILITIES, HUH? The conspiracy theorists had a field day with this one. Newegg removed the listing soon after they were alerted by Blizzard that they were causing a ruckus.

& Leeeeeeeroy!

Leeroy Jenkins is a meme that lives in the hearts of many a WoW player. There’s an in-game title and a (pretty awesome) Hearthstone legendary card named after the legend that is Leeroy. So, it seems fitting that the devs added him into the revamped UBRS dungeon in WoD.

We’ll Do It Live

Shaman totem art

' Work It

Who says playing video games is a waste of time? Symantec’s COO, Stephen Gillett, includes his World of Warcraft experience on his résumé. And it has paid off. It helped him land a job at Corbis, and eventually Starbucks. “I put my qualifications on my résumé when I apply for jobs,” Gillett said. “Here’s my guild. Here’s my ranking. Here’s my biggest online achievement. Some people look at it and say, ‘What the hell is this?’ And others will be like, ‘That’s exactly what I’m looking for.'” It’s not a bad idea. Gillett says that he includes his WoW achievements on his résumé because it shows he exercises leadership in both the physical and virtual realms. Maybe I should add a new section to my résumé…

! Macro Macros

If you’ve ever capped the number of macros in your collection – good news! Taepsilum and Celestalon announced changes to macros coming in patch 6.0 including an increased number of macro slots and a new conditional.



% Storm, earth and fire, heed my call!

Azrajin created the art featured in this week’s header image.

" Take the long way home?

If you’re looking for an easy way to power through bounties in D3, split farming may be the answer. Although it pretty much defeats the togetherness behind multiplayer gameplay, split farming in Diablo 3 is one of the most productive ways to play. Tysker86 asks Reddit Diablo to share their tips on making longer bounties less time consuming.

' The Slow Grind

Becky Chambers started playing WoW in 2005. It was a slow, but steady, start. As her gaming literacy improved over time, she experienced a reversal in playstyle. “My appreciation for the medium has deepened, and I’m confident in my skills, but something has changed along the way. I’ve gotten out of the habit of taking things slow. … Gaming culture always operates at a frenzied, fevered pitch. I think I sometimes miss the days when my engagement with games felt like a long, slow soak instead.” Chambers shares her journey in re-embracing the slow grind.

& Under the Hood

You know that feeling when you cast a Lay on Hands or Guardian Spirit on the tank and they still fall over? You know you cast the spell – it’s on cooldown. It sucks, but that feeling is one healers are accustomed to. But things may be changing in WoD. Celestalon posted about a very large upgrade to game responsiveness coming in the expansion. It has to do with lag, server requests, how those are processed and how things will change. Good stuff!

! Memetastic

Community Manager Zarhym asked for examples of historical WoW content that has gone viral over the years. I’ve Storified some of the community’s responses and favorites.

" n00b

When I rolled a Hunter ages ago, I wondered why my pets hated me. They never seemed to stick around for long. I eventually found out – through means I wish I could remember – that I had to feed my pet to get it to stick around. We’ve all been noobs at some point. Reddit WoW discusses their worst noob moments. Ah, memories.

& We’ll Do It Live

Publicizing your content can be tough. You may be running a Twitter profile, Facebook page, YouTube channel, Instagram account… I could go on. For Twitch streamers, it’s becoming easier to cross-promote your live broadcast status on YouTube with Twitch Live Annotations. “Twitch Live Annotations enable a promotional alert that appears on all of your YouTube videos the instant you start broadcasting. These alerts are designed to direct people watching your videos on YouTube to your content as it happens on Twitch — keeping your current audience up to date and even bringing new viewers to your channel.” djWHEAT offers a video rundown.

' Getting to Know You

It’s time to prepare! There are only 135 days left until BlizzCon 2014. You may be thinking about what to pack or where you’re staying, but what about the people you’ll meet? “I get that as gamers, many of us tend to be introverts. We shy away from large crowds. We don’t like doing the hand shaking or the high-fiving.” Matticus puts together helpful tips for networking at BlizzCon. Rule number one: Don’t be limp. With your handshake, of course!

I Now Pronounce You Orc and Wife

That Way - Druids

' Illusions of Grandeur

“A social unit of any size is important to note. A community can be your family, your guild, your server, your game as a whole, the entire gamut of gamers. It can also be aligned with ideas, such as feminist gamers, LGBT gamers, and Christian gamers; all sub-communities of both gamers and their respective shared values. Communities are important, because they shape, validate, and reinforce identity. When communities clash, the results can be illuminating, and/or infuriating.” Talarian writes about WoW’s sub-communities and pushing for change.

# [Epic Guitar Riff Here]

YouTuber Johnny Pear plays an awesome cover of the Heroes of the Storm main theme.

! Many Locks! Handle It!

Warlocks are getting a title for completing their green fire quest chain before WoD drops. Watcher confirmed that it’d be account-wide… but only active for Warlocks. And who doesn’t have multiple locks?


' I Now Pronounce You Orc and Wife

“This MMO marriage phenomenon gained momentum last month when Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn director Naoki Yoshida told Japanese website Famitsu that a marriage system is in the works for the Square Enix hit. This system will feature elaborate costumes, matching rings, and undisclosed perks for the bride and groom. And during developer talk today at the giant Electronic Entertainment Expo tradeshow, Yoshida confirmed that same-sex marriage will be available in A Realm Reborn’s next patch.” Rory Appleton looks at the complex state of marriage in MMOs.

" (Data)mining for Gold

Say what you want about Reddit, but good stuff comes from the /r/wow and /r/diablo communities. Friedkale posted about the newly datamined rarity of affixes and calculating your chances while enchanting gear in Diablo. If you’ve always thought that certain affixes are rarer than others, well, you’re not imagining things.

& Bloody Horrible

Farming Bloody Coins was once a miserable grind that killed the drive of many achievement farmers. But no longer! (Except if you’re a healer.) CM Lore announced a few changes to Bloody Coin farming as well as a few quality of life changes to the Fire-Watcher’s Oath item. The buff to the Bloody Coin droprate wasn’t high enough at around 10% per killing blow, so they buffed the droprate to 100% per killing blow. Now it’s not as horrible. (Except if you’re a healer.)

+ Speaking of horrible grinds, there’s another buff in town: The Gaze of the Black Prince increases reputation gained with the Black Prince by 100%. And if that’s not enough, it also increase the chance of obtaining items needed on your Legendary Cloak journey.

% That Way

This week’s header image is “That Way”, a Night Elf-inspired piece by Anna-draws-things.

' Hit Me With Your Best Shot

From what we’ve learned in the Alpha, info released on pet battles is rare. Sure, we’ve seen new breeds, but there are apparently quite a few adjustments on the horizon for pet battling. Liopleurodon documents pet battles in the WoD Alpha and explores the new accuracy changes released in the latest build.

! Secret Agent Man

Doubleagent is a Pandaren without a faction. And he’s almost level 90. How? Wha? Yep. In order to leave the Pandaren starting zone – and to continue on their questing journey – players must choose a faction. But Doubleagent decided to level without choosing a side, which means he’s leveled all this way via gathering professions. As of yesterday, he only had 26.7% left to go until level 90.


" Mathy Stuff

During the Mists of Pandaria beta, the thread that turned into the theorycrafting thread was a huge benefit to the community. Game Designer Celestalon started a new theorycrafting thread for the WoD Alpha focusing on all things mathy and stuff. Head over if you have questions about new gameplay mechanics, if you’d like to discuss how to best simulate a new spell or whatever other spreadsheet and theorycrafting things make your heart sing.

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