In late October I wrote a column that was an attempt at humor. In it I listed the top 10 reasons to look forward to the Warlords of Draenor expansion for World of Warcraft. Now that Warlords has been out for over a month I want to go back and take a look at how much of my humorous list actually holds up under the stress of use.
Read more of Rob Lashley's World of Warcraft: How Did the WoD Top Ten Hold Up?
The World of Warcraft site has been updated with a new post that takes a brief look back at 2014 in WoW and, even more interestingly, a gigantic look ahead at what 2015 will bring for players.
The team threw out several very interesting peeks at the coming year including:
New Ways to Play
We’re exploring the possibility of giving players a way to buy tradable game-time tokens for the purpose of exchanging them in-game with other players for gold. Our current thought on this is that it would give players a way to use their surplus gold to cover some of their subscription cost, while giving players who might have less play time an option for acquiring gold from other players through a legit and secure system. A few other online games offer a similar option, and players have suggested that they’d be interested in seeing something along those lines in WoW. We agree it could be a good fit for the game, and we look forward to any feedback you have as we continue to look into this feature.
Read the rest on the World of Warcraft community site.
Right from the get-go, it needs to be said that Warlords of Draenor is a fantastic expansion. It has hit many of the right notes in all the right ways beginning with the stat and skill pruning that has been much discussed over the last year or so. Players have fewer skills, but better ones overall. Traveling through the world on the way to 100, fighting in both normal and heroic dungeons, anywhere in Draenor requires thought. That’s right, it’s not just a face roll on the keyboard. Even mundane monsters move and have special attacks that give players pause to consider, at least the first time or two through an area.
Read more of Suzie Ford's World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor - Bringing Back the Glory Days.
WoW Mom is an emotional documentary being made by Andie Bolt that chronicles her mother's journey through cancer treatment...and through Warlords of Draenor. The project is currently seeking KickStarter funding to complete. Our own Rob Lashley had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Andie and her mother Terry. A great time was had by all. It's definitely a video interview you won't want to miss.
In 2010, Terry Bolt was told she had six months to live after being diagnosed withNeuroendocrine Tumors (NET)/Carcinoids, a rare and often misdiagnosed form of cancer that was responsible for the death of Steve Jobs. She began playing World of Warcraft as way to cope, and her daughter Andie Bolt, a stand-up comedian, realized that there was a story to tell: many people in the online gaming community play as an outlet to deal with illness, trauma, stress and loss. WoW MoM the documentary was born!
Much has occurred since my inaugural column on World of Warcraft. I’ve managed to climb to the giddy heights of level 100, tearing through the Spires of Arak and rolling hills of Nagrand on my way. I’ve improved my garrison, expanding it to the maximum size possible and recruiting new followers. And I’ve been diving into group content, from dungeons through to heroics and even the Molten Core Raid.
Read more of Gareth Harmer's World of Warcraft: Grouping Up.
This week I share my thoughts on the Warlords expansion so far and then we check out some of the Tier 17 gear we’ll find in the upcoming Highmaul raid.
Read more of Reza Lackey's World of Warcraft: Welcome to Draenor.
Now that the dust has settled from the push through the Dark Portal, it's time to gear up and head into Highmaul. To do it, you'll need something new to wear (wear last year's armor to a new raid? Perish the thought!) and this week, Blizzard got the ball rolling by releasing images of the new Tier 17 armor sets.
Anyway, to see what you think, check out the new sets for all the classes on the official WoW blog.
As the third week of the World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor expansion has come and gone, many people like me are approaching the end game, the thing to which we are all supposed to aspire. Raiding guilds have their teams busily working through heroic dungeons to gear up to meet the item level requirement for the first raid set to hit the live game on December 2nd. It's an exciting time for many players.
Somehow I am left with this uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach and the words quietly breezing through my mind, "Is this all there is?"
Read more of Suzie Ford's World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor Review in Progress #3 - The End Game.
Blizzard promised to give World of Warcraft players a look at the forthcoming character model updates for the game's most popular race, the Blood Elves. Delivering on that promise, here is what players can expect when the updated models go live.
Hello and welcome to the Blood Elf edition of Artcraft! We know that many of you have been waiting for this update, so I’ll just provide some quick background and then get straight into the imagery.
We’re aware that it’s not ideal to see a mix of older player character models next to newer player character models, especially when you happen to be a player of the Blood Elf variety—and we’re working as diligently to remedy that situation as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality. We don’t have an exact ETA for when you’ll see these in-game, but we’re happy with the direction of this update with regards to the model and textures; we’re now focusing on model and texture variations, as well as rigging and animating. We’ve streamlined the process quite a bit, so hopefully (knock on wood) those things will go smoothly and we’ll be able to roll these out quickly.
Senior Artist Dusty Nolting is focusing on the female model—here are his thoughts:
The Horde has classically been about brutes, blood, and thunder. The Blood Elves bring a bit of subtlety to the Horde, and I think that was one of the most important aspects of the Blood Elves to maintain. For the female specifically, something we did often was move things around in small but deliberate increments, to make sure everything was just right. It’s the delicate details like her nose shape or fingertips that represent the most challenging parts of upgrading the female.
Read more on the World of Warcraft community site.
A new Twitter post has been blasted onto the 'Net that lets World of Warcraft players know that the game's 'beautiful people', the Blood Elves, will have the new character models shown on Tuesday, November 25th.
The wait is over, we'll be giving you a sneak peek at the new blood elf models tomorrow!— WarcraftDevs (@WarcraftDevs) November 24, 2014
We'll be sure to post the preview as soon as it's available.
World of Warcraft celebrates its 10th anniversary this week, and designer/veteran WoW player, Stu McMillan (AKA Mhortuk of Magtheridon)has created a fun little graphic for it. Behold Stu's handiwork - The Periodic Table of WoW.
To embed this nifty little gem on your website or save it as a wallpaper, go here.
As I made meandered through Warlords of Draenor in order to level from 94 to 100 this week, I was astonished at the way that all systems seem to feed into one another. Each quest seems to stack upon the next in this at times overwhelming chain of adventure designed to gradually see characters grow to max level and see them geared at least moderately well by the time they hit 100. That's not to say, of course, that the journey is over at 100, but it is the focus of this week's article.
Read more of Suzie Ford's World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor RIP #2 - Symbiosis.
It’s been roughly two years since I last played World of Warcraft. A run of disappointing expansions and ageing gameplay mechanics drove me away from Blizzard’s MMO, and into a nomadic search for something new, exciting and satisfyingly deep. But then, like a siren’s call, Warlords of Draenor tugged at me. Although I was deeply skeptical about returning, could WoW’s latest expansion turn me around?
Read more of Gareth Harmer's World of Warcraft: Returning to Draenor.
Thanks to over 3.3M in sales on launch day, World of Warcraft subscriber numbers have soared over the 10M mark, probably a large factor in the server issues for the first several days of the Warlords of Dreanor expansion. These are the highest subscriber numbers since 2012.
On November 13, millions of Azeroth’s champions enlisted for the war against the Iron Horde with the launch of World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, the fifth expansion to the world’s #1 subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game.* Blizzard Entertainment today announced that as of the first 24 hours of the expansion’s availability, more than 3.3 million copies had sold-through† and the game’s global subscriber base had passed 10 million, with growth across all major regions.
The release last week in North America, Latin America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia brought some technical and demand-related issues that made the first few days especially challenging for many players. To address the issues, Blizzard worked around the clock to roll out a series of updates and increase realm capacity across the board, and performance has remained solid since then. The expansion launched today (November 20 local time) in South Korea, mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau.
“We’re thrilled that so many players jumped in to play Warlords of Draenor on day one and are having a great time with the new content,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We poured a lot of hard work and passion into this expansion, and we appreciate all the kind words from players and the overwhelming support they continue to show for World of Warcraft.”
Players have been largely supportive of Blizzard's efforts to ease server queues and many herald Warlords as the best expansion since The Burning Crusade.
Source: Blizzard press release
We’ve all seen the signs before: ‘limited time only’ the words say, usually with a McDonald’s McRib sandwich plastered on it. We all scoff, the sandwich comes back like a zombie next year, and we continue to dismiss the idea of it truly being a ‘limited time only’ experience. This is not so different with MMORPGs and their holiday events. Holiday events come along like the seasons they represent with mini-games, encounters and goodies, but we don’t truly find it devastating if we missed out—it will all come back next year. However, what if a feature, a paid one, was truly here for a limited time only… should players be punished for the lack of participation?
Read more of Edwin Lee's World of Warcraft: Limited Time Only.
Blizzard has issued a public apology for the World of Warcraft technical issues after the launch of Warlords of Draenor. In addition to admitting to a poor launch experience, Blizzard is also giving a good faith gesture to its community by giving all subscribers in all regions five days of game time in compensation for the frustration.
I know how much everyone was looking forward to this expansion, and once you were able to get in and start having fun, all the comments I've seen indicate that this is one of our best yet. But the quality of the content does not excuse the subpar launch experience we delivered, and I apologize for that.
The first two days of the expansion were not a great experience, with many of you facing high queues or significant gameplay problems. We worked around the clock to tackle the demand issues and technical challenges, and fortunately things started looking better on Saturday. While millions of you were able to get in and play over the weekend, with many already reaching level 100, others still ran into very lengthy queues, particularly on the highest-population realms.
To help address this, we’ve expanded the new instancing tech we used to improve queues on Saturday and we’re continuing the process of applying that to raise the capacity of all realms again. This will result in approximately double the prelaunch capacity on each realm, which should greatly reduce queue times for most realms if not eliminate queues altogether.
In recognition of the difficulties so many of you ran into when trying to play over the first few days, we're adding five days’ worth of extra time to every subscription in the Americas, Oceania, and Europe that was active as of Friday, November 14. Things are already in a much better place than they were going into the weekend, so I hope you’ll now be able to focus on having a ton of fun with this expansion.
I also hope you'll accept my apology and keep your faith in us. The support voiced by many of you as we worked through the challenges was immensely appreciated. We're extremely grateful to be part of such a passionate community. We love World of Warcraft, and we're very proud of this expansion, so stumbling out of the gates like this was very disappointing for all of us.
On behalf of the World of Warcraft development team, as well as everyone at Blizzard, thank you all again for your patience and understanding.
See you in Draenor.
Participate in the discussion on the World of Warcraft site.
Over the weekend, the largest World of Warcraft subReddit was shut down temporarily by one of its moderators. The shutdown was seen as a way to protest the recent server woes that World of Warcraft has been undergoing since the launch of the Warlords of Draenor expansion last week. Once this particular editor was able to log into WoW, the subReddit was reopened but the backlash against his decision has been a phenomenon all its own.
According to an interesting investigative piece at TheNoseMilk.com, angry /r/WoW are having posts deleted from the hugely popular Reddit stream and several are working to create a new space for all things World of Warcraft related.
Of particular note is that the anger is directed at this one individual and whether or not any single person should have the ability to summarily shut down a popular subReddit on his or her own.
Moderator Nitesmoke claimed that his actions were a protest against WoW developers and issues with their new expansion. Over the past few days from release, there have been many issues including server wide lag, queue times, and DDOS attacks that have increased the pressure on the WoW development team. Regardless, what gives him the right to shut down a community? This only draws attention to the design of Reddit, in which some individuals are given complete power over thousands. Nitesmoke is the original creator of the subreddit and has total control over the entire community- and at this point, he still rests on his throne.
Read more at the link above and be sure to leave us your thoughts in the comments.
There's nothing that kills procrastination on writing an article more than the fact that the game you're supposed to be writing about is, well let's just say "non-functioning". Yes, I'm talking about the latest World of Warcraft expansion, Warlords of Draenor and, yes, it's been one of those days.
Read more of Suzie Ford's World of Warcraft - Warlords of Draenor Review in Progress #1.
In what is becoming sadly normal on a game's launch day, Blizzard has confirmed that World of Warcraft servers are under DDOS attack from an outside source that is resulting in server disconnects and lag rendering the Warlords of Draenor expansion unplayable by many. Blizzard is undertaking a series of fixes in order to return server stability and will be keeping the community informed.
We’re excited to finally launch Warlords of Draenor and explore this new world with you, but we know that the experience has been less than ideal as we approach our first full day of launch.
Europe was our first region to launch, and we encountered a few issues due to the sheer number of players attempting to enter Draenor from a single location. We worked to add multiple new ways to access Draenor, and this helped ease some of the initial rush into the new expansion as players were able to access it from their capital cities, as well as from the shrines in Pandaria.
While that solution helped a ton for our North American launch, we ran into a few other issues, including a distributed denial of service attack, that resulted in increased latency.
To help correct for this and other issues, we’ve temporarily lowered maximum realm populations. This means there will be high queue times experienced on high-population realms.
Here are some of the other important issues we’re currently working to address:
- Instance servers timing out, which may impact dungeon access
- Continent server issues, which are resulting in Player Not Found and disconnection issues
- Garrison server issues, which are resulting in phasing and performance issues
We’ll post updates here as we make progress against these issues. Thank you for your zeal to face down the tyranny of the Iron Horde—and for your continued patience as we work to improve the current experience.
Check out the forum thread on the World of Warcraft forum.
On Wednesday November 12th, hours before the launch of World of Warcraft’s fifth expansion Warlords of Draenor in Europe and the rest of the world, Lead Game Designer Ion Hazzikostas and Lead Class Designer Kris Zierhut from Blizzard took part in a live Q&A hosted on Twitch by WoW Community Manager Josh Allen.
Read more of Rob Lashley's World of Warcraft: Live Q&A Recap.