MonthMarch 2014

We Had It All Along

Artwork by @KageSatsuki

' I Wanna Be the Very Best

Whether you’ve already boosted a character or have yet to use the shiny boost token waiting on your character creation screen, it may not be clear what to do next. Even for experienced players, it can be overwhelming to log into a completely unfamiliar character. The Warcraft team put together a guide of tips and resources for new and veteran players with boosted level 90s.

+ Wowhead asked a number of raiders and bloggers in the community to write class guides aimed at beginners and players with boosted 90s.

! All Engineers, All the Time

Any tidbit of news on Engineering causes me to become unreasonably excited. So, when Senior Game Designer Jonathan LeCraft confirmed the next iteration of Blingtron for WoD, I rejoiced. And I know I’m not the only one. The new Blingtron 5000 will feature fresh loot and a unique ability: Battling other Blingtrons to the death. Sounds like a choice reality show pitch to me.


+ And while he was at it, LeCraft revealed a new teleporter for the expansion. The Wormhole Centrifuge will allow Engineers pick two locations from a list, but be sent to one. Red pill, blue pill?

# The Rift Between Us

YouTube user Holy Hermit released a Diablo III video guide covering two new features in the expansion: Rifts and gambling (of sorts). I’m crossing my fingers for a rift full of treasure goblins.

' Follow the Leader

“The world needs jerks. But it needs the right kind of jerk. The kind of jerk who’s willing to put their boot down and stop other jerks in their tracks. It’s a dirty job, but it has to be done.” Matticus and friends discuss running a successful guild. And the tough lessons they’ve learned along the way.

! Let Me In

Although the cap on entering instances was created to thwart exploiting, the average player can easily hit the limit while farming for transmog items or trying to figure out which portal leads to The Underbog. Luckily, Watcher is looking into including some sort of timer to assist players in tracking the lockout.

& No “I” in Team

“Team leveling solved a lot of problems for our game. Characters like Abathur just worked. All of our Battlegrounds were suddenly alive with possibility. Players had the freedom to go where they wanted to go, when they wanted to go there, with the knowledge that their allies were helping them by collecting the experience that minions created.” Heroes Game Director Dustin Browder provided insight into how the team’s design decisions evolved over the course of the game’s development.

" We Are Family

“There is nothing quite like a mammoth parade – the rumble of heavy feet stamping the ground in stolid purpose, shaggy dust stained coats swaying to and fro with every movement, shining tusks jutting out in defiance of any who would dare cross their path.” Violent Apathy of Bleeding Hollow marches across the Vale of Eternal Blossoms in a hairy parade of mammoths to visit their Alliance neighbors. Who said World PvP doesn’t exist anymore?

For those planning on hosting a community event, head over to the Community Events and Creations forum to rally the troops.

' We Had It All Along

“It’s taken two years, multiple patches, and a major expansion, but Diablo III has finally rediscovered the moment-to-moment gameplay that made the series great, and fixed—or removed—almost everything that got in the way of that greatness. Reaper Of Souls is the redemption of Diablo III.” Rowan Kaiser at Ars Technica talks about the success of the series’ recaptured greatness.

! It’s (Almost) Here

As guilds begin to reevaluate their raid rosters for Warlords, Watcher drops a whopper of a tweet revealing that Mythic SoO, along with flexible Normal and Heroic difficulties, will release before the expansion. What about raid comp? For those planning the shift, Mythic will require 2-3 tanks, 4-6 healers, and around 13 DPS.


+ Bonus Storified version of the info.

% Reaper of Chibi

Kageyama Satsuki adorably melds the worlds of Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo in this wallpaper. Also featured in this issue’s header!

+ Vidyala beautifully sketches Draenei.

Flawless

Flawless

! Stay Classy

“The fantasy of Warcraft battlegrounds is that there are two relatively equal sides to the conflict.” But it’s just not the case. Cynwise analyzes battleground imbalances and how to address them.

+ And if that isn’t enough analysis for you, Cynwise tweeted about tasty datas on class popularity over the course of MoP. Here it is in nifty Storify form.

& Garry’s Trial

“Outrage and offense chased away Anduin’s discomfort. Blood suffused his face and he snapped, ‘I am not Arthas!’” If you can’t wait for Christie Golden’s War Crimes release in May, sate your hunger with Blizzard’s sneak peek of the book.

" SoO You Think You Can Raid?

SoO is now cross-realm on all difficulties. Bring in your friends from all around and take the fight to Garrosh to earn your titles and loot. But it makes me wonder – how much do realms really matter anymore?

' Let Me Grab My Pitchfork

“So we wait, somewhat impatiently, for new information on the next expansion, or excerpts from novels, something to think about, something to look forward to.” Anne Stickney touches on WoD news and preemptive criticism from the community. Is it pointless to grumble? I don’t know, but I didn’t light this torch for nothing.

+ Alt:ernative Chat chimed in on the topic of WoD news (or lack thereof) and criticism – it’s inevitable.

% Flawless

Chris G. Robinson, Senior Art Director at Blizzard, revealed new and improved dwarf female models. The renders are now on the WoD website with different hairstyles and without facial distortion.

All reports of her “dark undereye circles” to be henceforth ignored by me and filed under “I woke up like dis.”

+ Featured header image via the Warlords site.

! Speed Kills

Additive? Multiplicative? Speed boosts haven’t always been straightforward, especially on the mechanical side of things. Community Manager Lore tweeted a bit about plans to make speed increases easier to understand.


& Crusader Skillz

Blizzard published a Crusader skill design Q & A just in time for the RoS release. The team poured through tweets and worked with senior game designer Andrew Chambers to provide answers to some of our most burning inquiries.

+ And to make sure you’re ready to jump into the action, the Diablo team put together an official launch day prep guide.

' The Endless Journey

“This post is going to be a bit of a meander through my experiences, more emotional than informational: PGs were not just an in-game diversion for me, but a deeply personal challenge.” Dayani at Heliocentric dives into Proving Grounds on every healing class.

+ Perculia and Hamlet posted thorough Proving Grounds guides for rogues and healers, respectively.

% Hearthsweeper

Forget Flappy Bird. The new Hearthstone-inspired tile game HS 2048 provides enough distraction to throw your evening off track. Seriously though, I almost didn’t finish this week’s issue because I was too busy playing.

& PAX

Blizzard is heading to PAX East 2014. Attendees will be able to try Hearthstone on iPad, a hands-on WoD intro experience, a Heroes of the Storm demo, and much more. Take this time to ask the devs really obscure questions and complain about loot coining RNG face-to-face.

Get Hearthstoned

crusader_cropped

" What went wrong with Warlords?

Pre-orders for Warlords of Draenor released this week and with it, a release date. Sort of. Blizzard hopes to release the next expansion “on or before December 20, 2014,” which is technically the last day of Autumn. Naturally, the community had a lot to say.

+ A similar thread popped up on the US forums. Before I could finish popping my popcorn, Nethaera let everyone know that Blizzard is “working to get an awesome expansion into everyone’s hands as early into fall as possible.”

' Keeping the Passion Alive

“I had no gold, I had no mounts, I had no battle pets, rep, heirlooms, nothing. All I wanted to do was play a Druid from scratch.” Near the end of an expansion, many folks experience burn-out. Reesi talks about how she rediscovered the magic of the game and her love for her original toon.

! Thorim’s Deathballs

Watcher revealed a few solo-friendly changes coming to Ulduar and ICC in Warlords. Presented in fresh Storify form.

# Drinking the Healer Watercooleraid

Monkcraft Podcast sat down with healing monks Suplift, Mist, Stormie and Affiniti to chat about last week’s Dev Watercooler post. What will monk healing be like in WoD? What do they hope monks will become and will monks be a strong healing class in the new expansion?

' Breaking Down Lock Aggro

Ever wanted to know about Warlock Aggro in Hearthstone? Every single thing? Shoctologist gives an in-depth breakdown of the warlock aggro deck and how your games will play out with the deck.

& Get Hearthstoned

Hearthstone was officially released this week and with it comes loot. The Hearthsteed is now in! You only need to win three games in Play or Arena mode and it’s yours, along with the Hearthstoned achievement. Vanity Card Backs and Gold Heroes were also added.

+ Community Manager Aratil posted an update on the newly released game. The Ranked Play system, as well as the Tinkmaster Overspark and Nat Pagle cards, are seeing a few tweaks.

! Get a Boost

In the flurry of questions surrounding WoD level 90 boosts, Olivia Grace offered priceless advice.


' Rage Against the Machine

“Look, even if you make all stats desirable there’s no way they’re all going to be equally desirable for all classes and specs. It just isn’t possible. For warriors, if we keep the Mists of Pandaria enrage mechanics crit is still going to be king, so the value of this particular racial will fluctuate wildly depending on circumstances.”

Matthew Rossi shares his thoughts about the coming racial changes and how they’ll affect warriors.

& Remember, This Is a Test

The Heroes of the Storm Technical Alpha is now live and the time has come for invitees to answer the call of the Nexus. Blizzard is inviting a limited number of players to take part in this very early testing phase.

If you haven’t received an invitation to the Tech Alpha yet, make sure you’ve elected to participate in Heroes of the Storm testing by opting in on your Battle.net account. Blizzard isn’t sending out keys, so be wary of phishing attempts.

% May the Darkness Be Consumed by Light

Blizzard released a gallery of new Crusader art and it’s awesome. “In celebration of this blessed champion of the Light, we’ve collected several samples of fan art from all around the globe featuring the newest playable class in Reaper of Souls.” Feast your eyes.

+ Featured header image by Vablo

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