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Podcast Episode 21

Episode 21 of the podcast is up and this week we cover the increased subscriber numbers, the various hints towards a possible beta, the raid system change in 6.0 to Siege of Orgrimmar, Guild/Raid atmosphere and finally what we’d like to see if blizzard would choose to put another class into the game.

More signs of a WoD beta coming soon(tm)?

Often forum threads pop up over the web with fake information for new games or expansions to try and trick people. So take this with a grain of salt although looking at some of the responses and what we posted just a bit earlier about Rygarius’ tweet about patch notes it does look quite compelling. So it’s looking like more of a possibility that the Warlords of Draenor beta might be coming within the next month. What am I talking about? Well a poster on the MMO-Champion forums found the following image on the battle.net servers for the account pages:

Which by itself is a great thing to find, however another poster said the following:

The MoP one was discovered March 7th, the beta started March 22nd.

The original post was not even about this, in fact it was about PvP Lead Developer Holinka’s tweet:

Of course Holinka could be talking about a 6.0 pre expansion internal testing server, or even one just for WoD pvp changes. So take all these signs with a mountain of salt, but these things could indicate a possible beta within the next month. Hope for the best but assume the worst, but it certainly gets this warcraft player’s hopes high! We will of course continue to watch for any solid information concerning the beta in the weeks to come.

News, Blizz tweets and Subscriber numbers Recap 1/02 – 7/02

Another week has gone by and things have been quite busy both inside the world of warcraft and outside it so we have some catching up to do!

First off Celestalon sent out a tweet earlier in the week talking about how blizzard intends to explain the reasons behind major changes in the upcoming expansion, however this seems to be a huge logistical undertaking because of translating into different languages alone. So we shall see how long it takes for them to come out with new information in the coming weeks/months!

On the WoW forums someone asked about the art for the upcoming garrisons and community manager Bashiok had the following to say:

Quote from: Bashiok
The level of detail we’re approaching with Warlords of Draenor means that these are going to be some-of-if-not-the-best looking sets, props and buildings ever seen in the World of Warcraft. Creating just one set of buildings for each faction (as well as their individual upgrades) is a huge amount of work, and they rely on most of the same artistic resources as the expansion’s dungeons, raids, quest hubs, and cities. Creating any additional buildings would quite literally translate to less content for those other parts of the game. We are incorporating some elements of other races into the individual Garrison buildings, but the themes are largely of Durotar and Elwynn. We’ll be offering a sneak peek at the Garrison buildings in the next Artcraft, which is currently slated to be posted next Tuesday–written by the art team and formatted by moi–so be sure to keep an eye on the front page next week.

Certainly there will be updates and changes as the expansion progresses, but I don’t believe there’s any current intention to add full sets of additional buildings. If we were to work on those for an expansion patch it would quite literally come at the cost of a raid tier. That is where that work would come from. We have to make decisions on how to spend our time.

I think if the Garrison becomes a long-term persistent feature there’s certainly a possibility for larger additions, but we’re focusing on it being a feature for Warlords of Draenor as your fortress against the Iron Horde. I think we’ll have to see how it goes.

Which means that next Tuesday, possibly Wednesday for us folks over in Europe depending on how late they release it, we’ll get a new update on the art in Warlords of Draenor, although this time for the garrisons!

Moving on, Activision had their earnings call for Q4 2013 and it yielded in possibly surprising numbers. The subscriber numbers have gone up (so yes, not down) by 200k subscribers! Putting the World of Warcraft subscriber base at the end of December 2013 at 7.8 Million players. You can find the full (albeit boring) details of the earnings here. The only other notable blizzard information was that the Diablo 3 expansion, Reaper of Souls will be released on March 25th, although this was already known.

Moving on to another set of tweets, this time from lead encounter designer Ion Hazzikostas (did I spell that right?) or known as Watcher. He had some very interesting things to say about the WoD raid system being brought to Siege of Orgrimmar in 6.0 . Keep in mind though that it’s likely 6.0 is still quite far away, so no need to panick if you’re in a 10man raiding guild.

Community managers can sure be mean on twitter when it comes to dropping possible, but could just be nothing hints! Rygarius had the following to say:

This if course could just be for patch 5.4.7 but it seems unlikely that it has so many patch notes. So does this mean a beta is near? One can only hope!

And then to end it off, let’s talk PvP! We’ve talked about the arena seasons on the podcast before and it looks like Season 14 will be ending in less than 2 weeks!

Quote from: Blizzard
Blood, sweat, and tears stain the Arena floors and Battleground fields—a grim chronicle of the hard-fought battles many of you have survived. Once again, the time has come for the victorious to be heralded, and champions to be rewarded!

Season 14 is coming to an end as early as two weeks from now. On that day, we’ll begin the process of determining end-of-season reward eligibility, which could take up to two weeks to complete.

Qualifying players should note the following in order to ensure you receive your just rewards:

  • Please do not transfer your characters to another realm or faction until after Season 14 has ended.
  • Award distribution for Season 14, including titles and mounts, could take up to two weeks after the season ends, though our goal is to finish in one.
  • Only players who have a rating of 1,000 or better are considered when calculating rewards.

At the end of the season, Conquest Points will be converted into Honor Points, and any Honor above 4,000 will be converted into in-game currency at a rate of 35 silver per point. There are a few other things to keep in mind once the season ends:

  • The Honor Points cap will remain at 4,000.
  • All Season 14 items will have their costs converted into Honor Points equivalent to their previous Conquest Points cost, with the exception of any items that have a rating requirement.
  • Season 14 items with rating requirements will no longer be available for purchase.

Season 15 Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds will begin approximately one week after the end of Season 14, and all Personal Ratings will be reset at the same time. Also note that Arena and Rated Battleground matches will not be available during the break between seasons. Once Season 15 begins, players will battle for the right to equip Prideful Gladiator gear, the most powerful PvP gear in game to date with an Item Level of 550.

Lastly, as of the beginning of Season 14, PvP players no longer needed to join or create an Arena team to compete. You can find more information about this earlier change in our Patch 5.4 Arena Update blog.

Podcast – Episode 20

It’s saturday evening again, which means we talk warcraft! This week on the podcast tank Vengeance in Warlords of Dreanor, some speculation with a possible leak thread on the MMO-Champion forums (always fun but just take it with a mountain of salt) and then in this week’s discussion point (yes we finally have one again!) we talk about the amount of raid abilities on a single boss, and of course in WoW Weekly fashion, we go offtopic a few times!

News Recap 27/01 – 31/01

warlords banner small

The week’s nearly over and there have been a few interesting things over the past 2 weeks from blizzard. Starting with blizzard coming out with many numerical facts about World of Warcraft. Such as that there have been 100 Million WoW accounts created of the past 9 years. Click on the image for the full details!

The folks over at ReadyCheck Podcast got to talk to some developers, from which you can find the full transcript of the interview here. One of the more interesting questions/answeres, however was the following:

Going back to Burning Crusade, one thing that I really liked about it was the difficulty of the heroic 5-mans. Recently I was playing Mists of Pandaria 5-mans and they were laughably easily. Are there any plans to reintroduce difficult 5-mans, or will it just be challenge modes?

Quote from: Blizzard
Ion Hazzikostas:
To some extent we’re looking to make heroic dungeons in Warlords of Draenor more difficult than they were in Mists. They aren’t going to be as difficult as they were in Burning Crusade, but we want to have a more robust tier of normal dungeons at max level for people who just want to casually queue up get some more or less guaranteed loot without too much of a challenge. We like heroic dungeons to require a bit more coordination, but we do recognise that there is this audience for really hardcore Burning Crusade-style or Challenge Mode-style dungeons. However, in Challenge Mode right now, the focus is so much on speed you don’t get that feeling of having to go through and mark your CC, polymorph that, sap that, for example. But we’re actually exploring the possibility of having Challenge Modes, as well as the speed component, also offer a chance at some gear rewards, LFR quality perhaps, so someone who doesn’t want to do LFR can do some hard content with friends and get epics that way. Further down the line, we have this new Mythic raid difficulty – we’re not planning on Mythic dungeons at launch, but that’s something that we could do. If we wanted to have an additional tier of difficulty, that option is open to us. It’s not a really good fit for random matchmaking, which is something we learned quickly at the start of Cataclysm, since there would be a lot of frustration. We do recognise that there is a lot of really cool play there, a lot of interesting MMO co-ordination in a smaller group, so we want to find a way to do it.
* NB: To clarify, Ion was indicating that they would like to offer rewards for completing hard dungeons with a deliberate pace, utilising CC etc., as opposed to speed runs through Challenge Modes. Apologies for the lack of clarity.

Continuing on to last week, Hearthstone is now officially in Open Beta and they also released a pretty cool intro trailer for Hearthstone! You can click here for the open beta announcement and here to go to the hearthstone download page.

And then to end our recap, last week the 2nd Heroes of the Storm Developer Q&A as well as a live match took place! Check out the Q&A here and the live match shoutcast by Developer Dustin Browder and Starcraft Caster Day9 here.

WoW Weekly Podcast – Episode 19

It’s saturday evening again, which means a new WoW Weekly podcast! This week we talk about the new client strings on the PTR that mention the “veteran bonus” and we talk about the update to the PvP Prideful gear for upcoming pvp season, as well as the concept of gear progression in general.