Taghearthstone

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In a previous issue I linked to a post about outdated MMO tropes, which included mob tagging as one of the big no-nos.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 Didn’t Start the Fire

Tyrande Whisperwind

! All BiS All the Time

With WoD’s revamped loot system, it’s clear that Blizzard is trying to move us away from the BiS mentality. They’re gently encouraging us to go in a different direction with stats that are “good-to-haves” and not necessarily requirements. After playing this way for so long, it’ll be tough to break the habit. There was a huge response from the community – and input from the devs – after the Dev Watercooler was posted. I just had to Storify it.

& The Best Laid Plans

Last week, I’m not sure I would have remembered that I’m only one achievement away from Glory of the Dragon Soul Raider (what the??). But now I do. Not sure what to do next on your alt or which achievement to finish off? There’s an app for that. Wowhead just released their character planner. And it’s awesome.

# It’s Not the Destination

“Let’s say you’ve just hit Level 70 on a new Crusader. Bright eyed and bushy flailed, you’ve got your sights set on Torment VI. You know the build you want and the Legendary items that will help support it. That’s an awesome destination, but what about the journey? What kind of build should you focus on in the meantime, and what sort of gear will help you transition into those higher Torment levels?” Deadset Gaming’s video guide, “Beginning Crusader Gearing (1 Day to Torment IV)”, will set you on the right path.

' Rift it Forward

If you have a level 70 in Diablo 3, you may be interested in farming rifts. Or you may be all over it already! Rift it Forward is a community in which players pool resources to easily farm rifts. One player opens a rift, another clears it to the Guardian, and the group files in to kill the Guardian and collect loot. In exchange, someone opens the next rift for the soloer. That’s the gist of it, at least. There are definitely pros and cons to the system, and Dannie Ray of BlizzPro offers up a choice rundown of the Rift it Forward system.

& We Didn’t Start the Fire

Xfire is launching free web-based software to allow any player to create, host, and promote high quality tournaments. Custom branding management, player wrangling, and streaming are all planned features to be included in the release – which is pretty sweet. “The heart of competition is a burning passion to be the best. Complications and delays stomp out that fire. Xfire is making competing easier for players and organizers, and we feel that will grow the market substantially.” [a]listdaily interviews Xfire’s VP of Marketing, Matt Marcou, on their big plans for eSports.

% Elune Be With You

Camillepetrai’s fantastic cosplay of Tyrande Whisperwind is featured in this week’s header.

+ And if you create things, be sure to check out the Blizzcon art and movie contest – submissions are now open!

& Nerf Locks!

HearthStats released its May report on all things Hearthstone. Find out which class was the most played in constructed decks (Warlocks), which classes had the highest global win rates (Rogues and Warlocks), ranked win rate distribution, and more. You know, pretty graphs and numbers.

! New News

The WoD Alpha went into Friends & Family testing this week and the community has gone bonkers over it. Rightfully so, as we’ve been starved of any substantial new information. Since the invites have started to roll out, participants in the early F&F testing have been streaming, sharing, and gathering a ton of useful info. Check out the (work-in-progress) Storified collection of community-driven WoD updates.

' More Bones to Gnaw On

It’ll be… ten years already? Woah. It kind of blows my mind that later this year I’ll have played this game for ten years. There are kids that have never known a world without Warcraft. In honor of its ten-year anniversary, Blizzard is gifting players a mini Hogger companion pet. Ah, memories.

& Get to the choppa!

Azeroth Choppers has come to an end and the winner has been chosen. Spoilers: The Horde bike won. Although I’m not surprised – the Horde bike was just… better. And I play Alliance right now. I think a sweet Dwarven front fender would have suited the Alliance bike nicely. So yeah, here’s the winner reveal.

+ Did you know that Orange County Choppers created Horde and Alliance bikes long before Azeroth Choppers was a thing? Me neither. Although the Alliance handlebars are cooler, I think Horde would have won here, too. Does it bother anyone else that they refer to the factions as “Good Guys” and “Bad Guys?”

Nom Nom Nom

Blackrock by ChrisHogman

" The One That Got Away

“I’ve salvaged countless legendaries without knowing their true potential and then kicked myself for it after. Because of this, I wanted to create a list of items that you should not salvage.” Reddit Diablo puts together a helpful list of legendaries you shouldn’t salvage. The list seems long at first glance, but it’s broken down by class. Good thing, too. I thought I had to keep everything around.

' That’s Value

If you’re a frequent Hearthstone player or stream viewer, you may have run into the concept of “value.” But what is it and what’s the value of any given card? Turns out it’s not an exact science. Antigen talks about value in HS and general tips you can use in your play.

& Nom Nom Nom

Kierpanda from Eat Game Live has chosen the winner of the Reaper of Recipes Challenge. Get ready for SHARKNADO!

' You’re In or You’re Out

Confession: I transmog my gear, even at low levels. I don’t know about you, but I like to look good while dragonslaying! Or, ya know, while digging cherries out of poop. Wowhead crafts a transmog guide for every class so you can make it work.

% Blackrock

ChrisHogman’s stunning “Blackrock” is this week’s featured header image.

" It’s Not Easy Being Green

I seem to see more set recipes than set pieces in Diablo 3. Seriously. I have yet to loot a set piece on any character. I get overly excited when I see that green beam shine through a pile of loot, only to get my hopes dashed when I realize it’s another crafting recipe. But now I can stop complaining – Reddit Diablo community member tracknuberseven put together an amazing guide for farming any set or legendary crafting material in the game.

' The State We’re In

“Kids, teens, even young adults who are currently playing World of Warcraft will be socialized by these ideas. World of Warcraft is a game that millions and millions of people have played, do play and will play. With such a large audience, it is my opinion that Blizzard has a social responsibility to demonstrate an openness to diversity, to show women actually being strong, to show dark-skinned humans doing something of note, to show any kind of positive LGBTQ presence at all.” Kurn discusses video games, society, and socialization.

! Hoarders

Hi, I’m Kristin and I’m a WoW hoarder. My bank and void storage are tearing at the seams and my alts have long served as overflow storage. And I know I’m not alone. There are many fun vanity items in-game and until last Blizzcon, there was no end to the madness. I admit, the Toybox releasing with WoD may be my favorite feature. Perculia collects recent tweets about the Toybox and items we’ll be able to put into it.

" I Heart Gnomes

I really like Sylvanas. She’s one of my favorite lore characters in WoW. And I’m sure there are folks who’d feel differently. Participants in a fun Reddit WoW thread are sharing their unpopular opinions about the game. “MoP was a better expansion than BC,” “I love Gnomes,” and “flying should have never been implemented” are just a few of the interesting posts.

' Home Is Where the Heart Is

Garrisons stand out as one of the biggest features coming to Warlords. I’m still not quite sure how they’ll interact with my gameplay or how much of a time-sink they’ll turn into, but I’m keeping an open mind. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a place to call our own? The feature doesn’t seem to be quite like player housing though. “World of Warcraft isn’t really introducing housing, in the traditional sense. Instead, they are introducing military bases that allow you to have some form of customization. The garrison system is going to probably be a fun system; but if you want to build a house, you may have to look elsewhere.” Restokin compares WoW Garrisons to Wildstar player housing.

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