MonthMay 2014

Uh-huh. Cool. Totally.

For the Swarm by Obilex

' Resurrection of a Death Knight

“Picking up his drink and cigar once more, he gives the Major a long-toothed grin, and retires to his tent, letting the moments of the day slip away to blend into the long line of unchanging and forgotten fallen dawns behind him. Kind of sad, really. He’s a Death Knight, he shouldn’t be sitting around molding away by a campfire, he should have one last, bright charge against a valiant foe left in him! I decided to resurrect Chainblade, call him up out of his retirement and make him shake loose the cobwebs from the rut he was in, give him one last hellride through mystery and adventure.” Big Bear Butt takes his Death Knight on one last adventure before his account goes dark.

% I Like It

Entries are now closed for submitting entries into Blizzard’s Hearthstone poster contest, but they need our help. The team has shared their top poster picks on Facebook; help pick out the best posters by “Liking” your favorite poster (or posters!), and the three entries with the most “Likes” will win an iPad Air. Check out the albums for US/CA and EU entries to place your votes.

& Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize

“When I play WoW, I see Hunters pulling arrows from thin air, firing shot after shot with no visible clue as to where that ammo is coming from. I’ve heard Druids speak fondly of mystical objects called Idols, and listened to Shamans talk of Totems. And my Paladin seems to have developed a strange hitch in his gait due to the lack of a Libram at his side.” WoW senior art director Chris Robinson reveals class accessories. I hope I won’t regret the fact that I vendored my favorite birdie Idol ages ago.

! Uh-huh. Cool. Totally.

The recent statements from Blizzard creative director Rob Pardo and HotS game director Dustin Browder aren’t the first missteps by the company on women and diversity. The community has a lot to say and I (attempted) to keep up with it all. Here’s a Storify of various reactions and responses.

' The Fall

“Weeks before Descendants of Draenor began to scratch the surface of the final encounter in Icecrown Citadel, it was common knowledge that The Lich King had already been defeated. The victor? Blood Legion…but the recognition they received was muted, for it was the 10-Man version they had scored a world-first of — something other hardcore raiding guilds paid little attention to.” Hanzo goes on a nostalgic journey through Azeroth and the fall of The Lich King.

# Crash Course

Every time a holiday boss comes around, I want to run the event on all of my alts. Well, at least the events with mounts that I have never seen in almost 10 years of this game. But as soon as I log in to a dusty old alt, I realize that I’ve completely forgotten how to do anything remotely useful. Enter Blizzard’s Crash Course guides. Get a refresher on your oft-neglected toon or jump right in with your new level 90.

' The Challenge

In WoW, we’re offered heirlooms and other enhancements with our alt leveling experience. “But is this really a good idea? If you go back to the Theory of Fun presented above, this is the exact opposite of how a good game should act. The game should acknowledge the player’s mastery, as evidenced by the first max-level character, and present a slightly harder challenge. Presenting an easier challenge will only lead to a player getting bored more easily.” Coriel talks about the challenge – or lack thereof – in leveling alts.

& Happy Birthday to Us

I wasn’t the only player hoping the Diablo III team would keep the legendary anniversary buff around. In fact, the community loved it so much that Blizzard decided to do just that. Now about some extra stash space…

% For the Swarm

Obilex’s Starcraft-themed “For the Swarm” is featured in this week’s header.

' Birds of a Feather

Flight in Draenor is – still – a hugely debated topic. The Grumpy Elf discusses how the lack of flight will affect gathering, exploration, travel, rare hunting, and PvP. Will it really get people out into the world? Grumpy doesn’t think so. But are we taking Garrisons and the new flight path revamps into consideration?


Ragnaros Hearthstone

% All Stuffed with Fluff

Apple McKee of LiLy’s Revenge crafted an adorable and intricate plushie based on the Pandaren Water Spirit, Shu.

& Rumor Has It

“Sources familiar with the pact,” or probably some guy’s brother’s cousin’s BFF, says that YouTube has reached a deal to acquire Twitch for more than $1 billion. “The deal, in an all-cash offer, is expected to be announced imminently, sources said. If completed the acquisition would be the most significant in the history of YouTube, which Google acquired in 2006 for $1.65 billion.” So far, PR for both YouTube and Twitch have declined to comment on rumors. Until then, you may continue to prep for the sky to fall.

" Gear Changes are Coming

WoW CM Crithto reveals upcoming gear changes in patch 5.4.8. “All upgradable epic items introduced to the game in Patch 5.4 will be given the option to upgrade 2 more times for a grand total of 16 item levels,” he says. What about our Garrosh heirlooms? Soon after the initial announcement, Bashiok confirmed that they’ll be auto-upgraded when the patch drops.

+ Unfortunately, legendary cloaks will not be auto-upgraded, but will receive the ability to be upgraded twice.

! Tank and Spank

“We just want to skew toward tanks needing more external healing than they do today.” Celestalon tweets about active mitigation in WoD.

' Superneutral

“The stakes are high — especially for new and thriving industries like professional gaming, usually referred to as esports, that have been built and maintained by startups and grassroots groups that rely on an equal Internet. Without a past of net neutrality, esports would probably not exist. Without a future of net neutrality, experts say, pro gaming’s next era looks stagnant and bleak.” Patrick Howell O’Neill discusses what the future of eSports and gaming would look like without net neutrality. Spoilers: It sucks.

% Huntress of Teldrassil

“The female Night Elf was actually one of the first models we started, but as we began to develop our other character models, we also wound up refining the overall look we were going for with the models and our processes for creating them. Ultimately, we felt that in order to do the female Night Elf justice, we needed to revisit her model with fresh eyes and continue iterating based on what we’d learned from working on the other models. The Night Elves have such a distinct but subtle character, and we spent a lot of effort in trying to help that come through.” Blizzard reveals the new female Night Elf model for WoD. And – like it or not – she still has fangs.

" Please, Sir, I Want Some More

The Diablo III anniversary buff will end on May 22, and our 100% bonus chance at legendary drops goes with it. But what if we could keep the buff somehow? The Reddit Diablo community brainstorms different ways to keep the buff around. Although I didn’t see too many legendary drops this weekend, the rate felt a bit more in line with what it should be. Should Blizzard keep the buffed drop rate or would a buff rotating every weekend (100% to bounty rewards, 100% bonus xp, etc.) work? Beats me, I just want more loots.

' Squishy

The Great Stat Squish is coming in WoD. With the removal of a few stats and a transition to newly squished stats, it can all seem a bit overwhelming at times. Perculia summarizes the squish, item enhancement changes, and other gear changes coming to the next expansion in this helpful guide.


“I found out about the contest 2 days before its deadline, so I frantically resorted to taking a ‘selfie’ with my cell phone camera, and using that as reference to paint from. I am now a gnome. In real life, my eyebrows are NOT this magnificent, nor do I have a legendary Ragnaros card in my deck (yet).” KrisCooper created this week’s whimsical featured header.

' Days Go By

Did you pre-order WoD? Whether you boosted a toon to level 90 or you’re just getting into the game, Alt:ernative Chat chats about what to do with the time we have until the next expansion. Her guide on Blizzard’s Raid Finder tool and how to get decent gear without stepping foot into LFR is quite handy.

Legen… wait for it… dary!

Crusader fan art by Smilewithdk

Interested in more than the weekly issue? Bookmark the newly launched Blizzlist companion blog, Unlisted, for an in-depth look at things and stuff.

' Pay to win?

“The argument that Hearthstone is a pay-to-win game is straightforward: Blizzard sells Hearthstone cards for real money. Players who are willing to spend lots of money on the game can amass arsenals of powerful cards to use in their decks, and steamroll players who have more limited resources.” Why farm for gold when you can buy card packs with real money? Would it really be all that great in the long run? Daniel Friedman debunks the myth that Hearthstone is a pay-to-win game.

" Legen… wait for it… dary!

Ever feel like RNG is working against you? It probably is. IncGamers gathered data on all Legendary drops in D3 and crunched the numbers. If you’d rather not know that your Wizard only has a 5.08% chance to see a Thunderfury on Master, don’t look at these charts.

! I Believe I Can Fly

Magdalena starts a great discussion on the state of flight in WoW.

& Super Buff

I earned my legendary cloak later than most of my raid members because I swapped mains in 5.4. Collecting Sigils and Runestones is one of the many bottlenecks in the quest chain and I never want to do it again. So much for my alts, eh? Well, Wowhead datamined a buff from the 5.4.8 PTR that grants increased Black Prince rep and legendary quest item gains.

' Get Hyped

“There are a few pet related items that have been added or named due to feedback from the pet battle community. The meaning of this is twofold. One: It’s really fuckin’ cool. Two: It means that the pet battle developers are not turning a deaf ear to their customerbase. They are listening, they are interacting, they are encouraging.” Gloria lists five WoD pet-related things to get hyped about.

! Where’s Chromie when you need her?

WoW players are (rightfully) concerned about how to earn achievements and farm transmog gear from old LFRs and scenarios. There has to be a better way! Watcher confirmed an awesome solution: NPCs.

" L2Raid

“Are you new to the game? New to raiding? Been raiding for a while but can’t seem to get things down or want to get better at raid awareness? Don’t know the fights? Sort of know the fights but think you still need some help? Sentry Totem is here to help!” Guilds founded by the community site Sentry Totem will be running flex mode Siege of Orgrimmar as a teaching clinic of sorts. Whether you’re experienced and are interested in volunteering or would like to improve your play and learn the ropes, Tickletotem is looking for you.

% To battle!

Smilewithdk created the powerful Crusader fan art in this week’s featured header image.

' Not Bad at All

There will always be complainers. But sometimes things just aren’t right and complaining makes sense. Like when Lesser Charms claimed an inventory space. The devs listened and removed the charms from our bags, adding them to the currency system instead. But people still complained. Too many to spend? Too annoying to earn? In the end, the Lesser Charm system turned out to be a good addition to the game. Grumpy Elf talks about things in MoP that Blizzard did right, even if people complained about them.

" Dat Booty

“At the moment we just have normal, cursed, and resplendent chests. How about a chest jammed full of gems, with a gem encrusted case? A pirate chest just full of gold, say 100k, and it fills up your screen? A Legendary chest with a giant beam of light? We need more epic moments in-game that get players excited, like when we find a goblin rift!” Reddit Diablo dreams up all types of new chests they’d like to see in Diablo. My vote is for a chest that releases a stampede of treasure goblins.

If You Build It, They Will Come

Hearthstone on iPad

' Wayback Machine

“Over the course of WoW’s nearly 10-year history, raiding has probably undergone more iteration and change than any other game system,” begins Watcher. Lead Game Designer Ion “Watcher” Hazzikostas steps back in time in the latest dev watercooler to revisit WoW’s raiding history in three parts. From Molten Core to Siege of Orgimmar, we’ve come a long way.

+ Olivia Grace interviews Watcher for Wowhead. Ion discusses the direction of the game and why the team is making the changes they are. The interview is an hour long, but it’s well worth watching.

# The Hivemind

What happens when you try to crowdsource Hearthstone play? Sometimes, not much. Other times, nothing that you want to happen. Hearthmind is a social experiment similar to Twitch Plays Pokémon in which viewers click at the board to make things go. Sort of. Eventually.

" Ridin’ the Rift

Sahkuh offers up a few tips when forming rift groups in Diablo. “Don’t be a jerk” is pretty high on the list.

! If You Build It, They Will Come

“Why fight WoW’s endgame head on when it has a stranglehold on raiding, not just because of quality but because of numbers and inertia?” Tzufit shares her thoughts on MMO endgame and WoW’s dominance of the market.

' Savage

“I believe that Mists of Pandaria overall was a success in terms of social justice for gender issues in the game – in terms of not making gender such a big issue, and making me feel welcome to the game as a female. Mists of Pandaria did a great job of featuring strong and powerful women, doing important things.” There’s a stark contrast between the overall zen feel of MoP to the “savage” world of Warlords. Understandably, players are heading back to turbulent Draenor, but does Blizzard have to loop back to old tropes? Restokin dissects the current and future status of women in WoW.

& Reaper of Soles

Our favorite gaming culinary connoisseur, Kierpanda, is hosting an epic contest. Your task is to to create the most delicious Diablo 3 inspired recipe in all of Sanctuary! Read up on the contest details and submission info at Eat Game Live.

# It’s a bird! It’s a plane!

Next time you’re running Utgarde Keep, look up. In fact, take a look upward the next time you do anything in WoW. You may be missing frescoed ceilings or a beautiful sky. Wowcrendor lists his 10 favorite ceilings in the game.

" Tip o’ the Morning to Ya

Did you know that you can hold down your mouse button to continuously attack in D3? What about making use of your mouse scrollwheel for opening the inventory or other windows? The Reddit Diablo community offers up a few quality of life gameplay tips.

' The Missing Link

The Blizzard Twitter community is a vibrant place made up of devs, players, and… key figures from the franchises? If you haven’t explored the world of Blizzard Twitter roleplaying accounts, you’re missing out. Verroak Krasha, an Arakkoa in the community, put together a list of what Blizzard Twitter RP is missing.

% Let’s Play

TetaMonja created the adorable Hearthstone fan art featured in this issue’s header.

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