Legen… wait for it… dary!

Crusader fan art by Smilewithdk

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' 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.

With a Little Help from My Friends

Echeyakee, the Whitemist

! Is that a Sunwell in your pocket?

Celestalon revealed that the devs are working on revamping spell visuals to improve player FPS. Which is good because I’m exhausted from conjuring the Sunwell every time I crit.

' The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Mists of Pandaria is probably my favorite expansion after The Burning Crusade. Between the scenery, quality of life improvements, and varied content, MoP has kept me engaged. But looking at the possibility of six more months of this expansion isn’t exactly exciting. Jasyla breaks down the good, the bad, and the ugly of MoP.

" With a Little Help from My Friends

Do plans count as legendaries in the cooldown timer? How do the mechanics of Armor and All Resist differ? The Diablo subreddit hosts a weekly help desk for players with questions about the game and for members of the community willing to answer them.

' Only the Boring Get Bored?

“The thing about a themepark MMO like WoW is that it has no discrete finish line, and anyone you ask will have a different definition of what it means to ‘finish’ the game.” If someone complains about the lack of content at this point in WoD, do you point them to Heroic Garrosh? Thing is, finishing off the game is different for everyone. The “finish line” doesn’t have to be the final Heroic boss of an expansion. 0utofBeta talks about how, to some, content that’s effectively out of a player’s reach due to time or skill constraints isn’t really “content” at all.

% Whitemist

6kart’s “Echeyakee, the Whitemist” is a stunning piece of fan art, featured in this issue’s header.

' I Want to Be the Very Best

Ashunera created a fantastic raiding guide for those of us who don’t find several hours of reading and digging through guides to be appealing.

& Let the Games Begin

“I think a major part of the tournament is also people not only wanting to see their favorite party win, but also parties they happen to dislike lose.” In 2010, Swedish politician Jonathan Rieder Lundkvist brought PolitikerStarcraft – an eSports event for Swedish political parties – to life as a way to increase awareness of eSports in politics, and of politics among gamers.

" Grab the Popcorn

The Reddit community is often known for its… passion. A few folks in the Hearthstone subreddit community noticed that Hearthpwn links were getting an abnormal amount of upvotes, even when linked to re-hosted Blizzard posts. Turns out, the moderator of that subreddit is an employee of the Curse network of sites. Sketchy stuff ensued.

+ VP of Content at Curse responded to the situation.

' Grumbles About Garrisons

Blizzard is releasing bits and pieces of information on the new Garrison feature coming to Warlords, but there are still so many unanswered questions. How will Garrisons be integrated into our daily play? How “required” will they be? Erinys discusses her desire for themed buildings, concerns over how important Garrisons will be, and more.

' Draenor Rock City

“The problem with nerd culture and the belief that only men are considered creators is that it reinforces that the only stories worth caring about are for men, by men, and in a way that is cool to other men. It’s a rigid set of interests that tends to not consider much else outside of it.” Apple Cider Mage and Tzufit break down the exclusionary nature of nerd cool and how WoD isn’t exactly the most diverse and welcoming expansion in Blizzard history.

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.



! 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.


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.

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