Tagheroes of the storm

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.

That’s for the Juggernaut

crusader_cosplay

' Are we there yet?

“While in recent years Blizzard’s been in the habit of announcing BlizzCon in the first quarter, we haven’t yet reached two of the dates on that list, and we’re not far past March 25th. So really, just under half of all BlizzCon announcements happened right around this point in the year.” Blizzard has yet to announce the dates for this year’s BlizzCon and people are getting antsy. And hey, there may not even be a BlizzCon this year. Elepheagle gives a rundown of BlizzCon yearly announcements so I can worry about other stuff, for now.

% Will the real daughter of Argus please stand up?

Senior Art Director Chris Robinson revealed the team’s current progress on the new Draenei model. Thank goodness, because I don’t know how much longer we could have waited after that whole April Fool’s thing.

+ “On a certain level, how you move in the game is one of the most important things you experience as a player. It’s your main interaction with the world around you. For Warlords of Draenor, we wanted to improve the locomotion of WoW’s player characters with brand new rigs.” Steve Aguilar, lead animator for the World of Warcraft team, introduced the new male Tauren model and delved into the animation process.

' Golden

Esoth is embarking on an impressive journey: To complete the gold wave in Proving Grounds for all 31 specs in the game. He discusses his goals, what he looks for in a spec-agnostic UI, and how he plans on tackling this monumental task.

! But what about me?

Along with news of new heroes and legendary cards, Blizzard released Warlords of Draenor beta keys into the wild at PAX East. Given to attendees who play WoD, HotS, and Hearthstone demos, the keys grant a guaranteed spot in a later phase of the expansion’s development. But what about the rest of us? No love for the folks who attended BlizzCon? According to CM Lore, there will be other ways to get into the beta.


' Mo’ Money

The devs revealed that Engineering items like Nitro Boosts and MOLL-E would have BoE versions in the expansion. I’ll spare you my feelings on that here, but what about the effects for players in general? Phat Lewts discusses the implications and viability of Engineering as a gold-making profession in WoD.

" Mo’ Loot

“Loot is an incredibly important aspect of Diablo games and we will continue to keep a very close eye on it. If more problems arise we will continue striving to address them. It isn’t our goal to take loot away from people, we just want to make sure they are having as much fun as possible while finding it and these changes all support that goal.” Game Designer Travis Day revealed a hotfix in which the bonus legendary drop rate for rifts was increased from 25% to 100% and unique monsters will drop fewer items.

+ Grimiku posted about future quality of life improvements based on community feedback.

% Mo’ Awesome

The folks at Blizzard know how to get down. To celebrate the release of Reaper of Souls in Korea, the team put together an epic release party including awesome Diablo cosplay from the Spiral Cats cosplay team. Tasha’s fantastic Crusader cosplay is featured in this issue’s header.

' Make It Last

“We are creating an experience where a team has a chance to do a few things before people start dying.” Dustin Browder talks hero lethality in Heroes of the Storm. What, still think every battle should be 10 seconds long?

# That’s for the Juggernaut

Heroic Siegecrafter Blackfuse is a clusterfu… complicated fight with a ton of moving parts. But when you learn where you fit in to the encounter as a player, everything falls into place. The belt assignment can be intimidating as it’s a key assignment in the encounter. Reesi demystifies the belt team with her 10-man Heroic SCBF belt guide:

' Mathematical!

“None of that discussion addressed what would eventually be a crucial (and in the case of our beta test results, deciding) factor: what makes a good metric?” Theck and Meloree created the TMI metric with the goal of calculating the threat of spike damage to a tank. Using Simulationcraft, it’s relatively easy to determine the effectiveness of a healer during a boss encounter, but not as easy when it comes to assessing a tank’s survivability. Theck recaps the process of (re)-building the TMI metric in two parts.

Friend Request Accepted

Hi there! So, this issue doesn’t include news from the recent Warlords info dump. I will release a special mid-week issue of Blizzlist dedicated to all things Alpha!

bulky_murloc

' See Ems

“Countless adventurers continue to brave the most trying versions of Mists of Pandaria dungeons, but the clock is ticking. This “season” of Challenge Modes will be coming to an end with the upcoming release of a patch prior to the expansion’s release.” Blizzard announced the end of this round of CMs not too long ago, but it wasn’t clear what would happen for Warlords. The good news: “The Undaunted” title and Phoenix mounts become account-wide. The bad news: Players lose their realm-best titles.

+ Watcher expands on why the realm-best Challenge titles are being removed.

" Ask Me Anything

What’s the difference between teleportation and portal creation? Can worgen reproduce naturally? What is the original Naaru name of the ship the orcs named Oshu’gun? The community’s most burning questions answered by Blizzard historian Sean Copeland in a new round of Ask Creative Development.

! Ch-ch-changes

Classes often see fundamental changes when an expansion is released. An additional resource to manage, a complete reworking of spells, or a change to the overall feel of a class can cause players to reroll. “U NERFED US!1!!” is a common argument, too. Matthew Rossi asked his followers about it:


% Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

“As the days drew ever-closer for the release of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls™, artisans from around the world rallied the tools of their trade in order to portray the Heroes of Sanctuary or Malthael preparing for the coming conflict. There were over $11,000 worth of prizes and a two-night trip to Blizzard HQ in Irvine, California up for grabs, so the competition was sure to be as fierce as any battle within Sanctuary!” Indeed it was. The Diablo team announced the winners of their fan art contest.

+ Mr–Jack on DeviantArt created a set of fantastic Heroes of the Storm paintovers.

+ TyphonArt’s “Bulky Murloc” is this week’s featured header.

" The Management

WoW offers guild masters tools to manage their guild easily – viewable “last online” information, various rank options, and more. But the new D3 clan system isn’t as leader friendly. TheFennec on Reddit discusses current clan management issues.

& Friend Request Accepted

If you leave your Battle.net desktop client open all the time, you’ll discover the new chat feature available to the app when someone messages you in the middle of watching Netflix. Oh, that’s just me? Well, Blizzard just released Battle.net chat through the desktop app. Now where’s my “invisible” status so I can hide from everyone?

+ In the interest of privacy, Strumpet101 goes over a key setting for Battle.net users: Friends of friends.

" Clicker

“Back then, I heard about people insulting those who clicked, referring to them as ‘noobs’ as a more common word.” There’s no “right” way to interact with the UI in WoW. Some of us are clickers, some of us are keybinders, and some of us fall somewhere in between. Community members of The Inconspicuous Bear forum talk about clicking and how to transition to the world of keybinding.

! Mount Runs, Here I Come

Last week, Watcher discussed the instance cap and considered adding a timer to assist players in tracking a reset. This week, he revealed that they’re easing the cap:


& Secret Cow Level

Bonus loot alert! Those who purchased Diablo III: Reaper of Souls can claim an Expert Card Pack (or Packs) in Hearthstone. Depending on the version you have you can expect one or three packs.

+ “The iPad version of Hearthstone brings all of the features and excitement of deck-building and dueling your friends that’s currently available for PC right to your fingertips.” Hearthstone for iPad was released in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Everyone else: You’re out of luck! (For now.)

! Throwback

Every Thursday, Twitter is flooded with visions of days past in the form of cute babies and parachute pants. A few folks at Blizzard have joined the #ThrowbackThursday trend with their own posts of old school dungeon diagrams and class design notes. I can get on board with that!

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.

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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