According to a Twitter post from the admins of the now-closed World of Warcraft pirate server Nostalrius, the group has been invited to Blizzard's headquarters this coming weekend though the agenda seems to remain unknown to them or they cannot reveal what the plan is as yet.
In addition, former Red 5 CEO Mark Kern will be attending the meetings this weekend and has gone on record as thanking Blizzard for listening.
Speculation is high among former players that this heralds Blizzard's announcement of vanilla / classic realms, though the weekend will reveal more.
See the Twitter post below for details.
Thanks to our anonymous tipster!!
YouTube user DanielL who has made a series of videos remaking locations around Stormwind in World of Warcraft is at it again. This time, DanielL takes on Duskwood, a dark foreboding place near Stormwind. It is beautifully done even here in an early phase. Treat yourself!
J. Allen Brack has taken to the US World of Warcraft forums to give Blizzard's first response to the issue of legacy servers that resulted from the recent legal action taken against a popular "private" server.
For the past several years, Blizzard has firmly responded in the negative regarding opening so-called 'vanilla' servers and, while Brack's letter doesn't immediately alter that company opinion, it does cast a ray of hope that something will come out of the often heated discussions in most WoW communities, including on the official forums.
Here is the letter in its entirety:
We wanted to let you know that we’ve been closely following the Nostalrius discussion and we appreciate your constructive thoughts and suggestions.
Our silence on this subject definitely doesn’t reflect our level of engagement and passion around this topic. We hear you. Many of us across Blizzard and the WoW Dev team have been passionate players ever since classic WoW. In fact, I personally work at Blizzard because of my love for classic WoW.
We have been discussing classic servers for years - it’s a topic every BlizzCon - and especially over the past few weeks. From active internal team discussions to after-hours meetings with leadership, this subject has been highly debated. Some of our current thoughts:
Why not just let Nostalrius continue the way it was? The honest answer is, failure to protect against intellectual property infringement would damage Blizzard’s rights. This applies to anything that uses WoW’s IP, including unofficial servers. And while we’ve looked into the possibility – there is not a clear legal path to protect Blizzard’s IP and grant an operating license to a pirate server.
We explored options for developing classic servers and none could be executed without great difficulty. If we could push a button and all of this would be created, we would. However, there are tremendous operational challenges to integrating classic servers, not to mention the ongoing support of multiple live versions for every aspect of WoW.
So what can we do to capture that nostalgia of when WoW first launched? Over the years we have talked about a “pristine realm”. In essence that would turn off all leveling acceleration including character transfers, heirloom gear, character boosts, Recruit-A-Friend bonuses, WoW Token, and access to cross realm zones, as well as group finder. We aren’t sure whether this version of a clean slate is something that would appeal to the community and it’s still an open topic of discussion.
One other note - we’ve recently been in contact with some of the folks who operated Nostalrius. They obviously care deeply about the game, and we look forward to more conversations with them in the coming weeks.
You, the Blizzard community, are the most dedicated, passionate players out there. We thank you for your constructive thoughts and suggestions. We are listening.
J. Allen Brack
Read the full discussion thread on the World of Warcraft forum.
In related news, Mark Kern, former CEO on Firefall and former WoW developer prior to 2006, has posted an "Open Letter to Blizzard Entertainment". In addition, Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street has offered his thoughts on the issue as well.
Duncan Jones took to the stage at PAX East earlier today to talk about the Warcraft movie. Jones wants viewers and those familiar with the Warcraft universe to 'feel at home' (such as in the Lion's Pride Inn) yet he did acknowledge that the movie will "veer from the lore", though always with the "blessing of Legendary and Blizzard". Jones indicated that the alterations would be "in small and subtle" ways and that all felt these changes would make a better movie.
The interview continued with Jones defending his choice of CGI over prosthetics for the actors as he didn't want their faces buried under it all. The use of CGI allows the camera to capture the actors' faces better.
Check out Rob Kazinsky's behind the scenes video of the Lion's Pride Inn and the movie poster featuring Draka, wife of Durotan and mother of Thrall.
There has been a lot of chatter on the internet lately about Legacy servers and Emulated servers for AAA MMOs. Rob weighs in with his opinions on Nostalrius Begins and the emulated server debate.
Read more of Rob Lashley's The Legacy Debate.
Legendary Pictures has released the latest Warcraft movie trailer, this time featuring more dialog, action, characters and much much more. It's a fantastic look that paves the way for Europe's premier in May and North America's in June. You can get a look at it over at ComingSoon.net.
Blizzard has announced that World of Warcraft: Legion will officially launch on August 30, 2016.
The announcement was made on the Warcraft Twitter account with the subtitle Kingdoms Will Burn.
IRVINE, Calif.—April 18, 2016—The great enemy of Azeroth is back, and soon the kingdoms of the Horde and the Alliance will be consumed in a storm of fel fire. Starting August 30, realms will shatter, heroes will fall, and the world will stand on the brink of destruction with the launch of World of Warcraft®: Legion™, the sixth expansion for Blizzard Entertainment’s acclaimed massively multiplayer online role-playing game.
Defenders of the Alliance and the Horde can steel themselves for the return of the demonic armies of the Burning Legion by pre-purchasing World of Warcraft: Legion digitally at www.wowlegion.com. Players who pre-purchase will unlock an instant level-100 character boost, as well as early access to the Demon Hunter—Legion’s dextrous and deadly new hero class—prior to the expansion’s release.†
“Legion opens a dark and thrilling new chapter in one of the Warcraft series’ greatest conflicts, and things will never be the same for some of Azeroth’s most iconic heroes and villains,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “This expansion is loaded with features and content that give players whole new ways to explore the world and customize their heroes. We’re looking forward to sending everyone into battle against the Burning Legion this August.”
In this expansion chronicling the events following Warlords of Draenor, all hellfire breaks loose when the warlock Gul’dan, betrayer of the orcs and twisted servant of the Burning Legion, unleashes a demonic invasion force upon Azeroth unlike any the Horde and the Alliance have ever faced. To save their world from annihilation, heroes must unlock the mysteries of the mythic Broken Isles, master powerful Artifact weapons, and strike a forbidden pact with the Demon Hunters of the Illidari—vengeful disciples of the dreaded Illidan Stormrage.
Josh "Lore" Allen has written an extensive post on the World of Warcraft Legion PvP feedback forum. The post goes into quite a bit of detail about the reasons behind "ability pruning" in Legion. In addition, Allen requests that players provide targeted constructive feedback on the alterations in order to assist the team in creating the best PvP environment possible.
Allen begins the discussion by admitting that skills in WoW had become bloated over the last several years, neccesitating the current removal of skills and abilities from class specs. The goal is to give each class and specialization a unique feel through the fine tuning process.
Lastly, the development team is seeking very specific information from testers about the way classes feel throughout the testing process. Allen writes that rather than saying "I don't like something" it is more helpful that the reasons behind that feeling are described.
You can read the entire post and the excellent feedback some players have already provided by visiting the World of Warcraft forum.
I have seen MMORPGs rise and fall, but none of them felt as depressing as watching Nostalrius, the most popular private server for World of Warcraft, shut down on Sunday. It wasn't just the end of a wonderful community, but a stark reminder that, despite what the back of the box might say, MMORPGs are ultimately products first and virtual societies second. It doesn't matter that the thousands of hours people invested into the server transformed it into a living memory of what World of Warcraft used to be, somewhere a piece of paper said that it was illegal and so all of those virtual citizens were doomed to die.
Read more of Steven Messner's World of Warcraft: If Blizzard Opens Vanilla Servers, Fans will Have Bigger Problems.
Amazon has a new entry for a graphic novel based on the Warcraft movie that will be available for purchase beginning on June 7th. Called Warcraft: Bonds of Brotherhood, the story is penned by Paul Cornell based on a story by Blizzard's Chris Metzen. Mat Broome is the illustrator. At this time, the hardcover graphic novel is selling for $24.99 on Amazon and is available for preorder.
Christie Golden's tie in paperback novel, Warcraft: Durotan: The Official Movie Prequel, is also available for preorder at $5.92 and will ship on May 3rd.
The latest World of Warcraft Legion alpha build has been released that includes the addition of the final Warlock spec and the news that world questing has been enabled. According to dev posting, world quests take a "major role in endgame content" during the expansion and feature, among other interesting components, world PvP objectives.
World Quests are unlocked via game play at level 110. Players access these quests by opening the area map. There will be a number of objectives presented that includes, for example, looting specific creatures and through gaining reputation from activities.
Objectives will feature a number of different types of gaming as well ranging from killing rare elites, taking part in pet battles, participation in outdoor world PvP, killing world bosses, dungeon completion, profession activity and much more. None are compulsory and all rewards for completion can be attained by doing any or all of the objectives.
World quests are not daily quests. Each will come with a specific duration lasting anywhere from a few hours to a week or more. Developers say that the map will be constantly "evolving" with new activities and objectives to complete.
Emissaries will send players out on a daily quest that, once finished, will reward players with a cache of goods. Most of the world questing objectives help satisfy the requirements of completion. Interestingly, these quests will stack up to three times as each one remains active for three days or until completed.
Loot comes in the form of toys, mounts, battle pets, power items and more that will "evolve with your character" and that will keep players coming back.
Read the full post on the World of Warcraft Legion Testing forum.
With the Warcraft movie a couple months away in North America and World of Warcraft: Legion set to arrive in September, Blizzard is helping players "BE PREPARED" with today's release of the new novel, Illidan, penned by William King.
Illidan Stormrage is one of the most powerful beings ever to walk the lands of Azeroth. He is also one of the least understood. Behind his legend, beneath his enigmatic mission, lies a brilliant mind whose machinations are comprehended by few—and trusted by even fewer. Illidan’s righteous reign of justice and vengeance has begun.
You can get a copy of Illidan from online book retailers or through the Blizzard Gear Store.
A lot of talk has been swirling around the MMO-niverse over the past week with Blizzard’s legal action to close a private World of Warcraft server. As a result, many are clamoring for “official” vanilla WoW servers by way of online petitions, discussions on forums and editorials by games media. Fans of vanilla WoW wish to return to what they believe is the ‘best of’ the game while Blizzard prefers to progress WoW in its current state. Neither side can be said to be wrong, but the debate continues as it has for over ten years: Should classic servers be part of Battle.Net?
Read more of Suzie Ford's and Catherine Daro's World of Warcraft: Nostalgia for Vanilla - Will Blizzard Give In?
The Warcraft movie is stoking the fires of excitement for next month's EU release (June for NA) with several new posters that feature some of the major players. Today's posters include Blackhand, Lady Taria, Ogrim Doomhammer and King Llane.
You can get a look at all of them by visiting the Warcraft movie Tumblr.
Blizzard's international law firms have sent notification to OVH, a local French server host, and to those who administrate Nostalrius, a World of Warcraft private server, that documents are being prepared for legal proceedings if the server is not shut down. As a result, the administrators of the private server have informed their players that Nostalrius Begins PvP, Nostalrius Begins PvE & Nostalrius TBC will all be shuttered on April 10th providing the hosting company is willing to keep things open until then.
Those running the private server are offering to "provid[e] everything [players or guilds] need in order to setup your own "Nostalrius" if you're willing to". In addition, the Nostalrius group is asking its players to send and open letter campaign to Blizzard to "express ourselves as a community". According to the letter found here, Nostalrius ostensibly houses 150,000 active players and over the course of its year in existence, 800,000 folks have registered accounts.
Today is also the day where Nostalrius will start being community-driven in the truest sense of the word, as we will be releasing the source code, and anonymized players data (encrypting personal account data), so the community as a whole will decide the form of the future of Nostalrius. We will still be there in the background if you want us to, but will no longer take the lead.
Read the full community letter on the Nostalrius site.
Urban artists representing a group called ARTtitude took to the streets of London to create some amazing World of Warcraft-themed murals that feature the iconic Night Elf race. The murals are a temporary (and awesome!) addition to the Shoreditch neighborhood but will only be available until April 6th.
From London, ARTtitude will move to Paris for Orcs and Amsterdam for Murlocs!
Read more on the World of Warcraft community site and be sure to check out the video below.
A new version of the World of Warcraft Legion alpha has been deployed that includes a new zone to explore, significant redesigns of several class talents, artifact traits, Order Hall campaigns and much more.
Some of the major additions/changes to Legion's alpha include:
You can check out the full alpha build update notes on the World of Warcraft: Legion test forum.
Blizzard is looking to engage young readers with a new book series called "World of Warcraft Traveler". The series is aimed at kids ages 8-12 and features a cast of young characters exploring Azeroth and the mysteries it embodies. Artists involved in the project include Samwise Didier and Greg Weisman as well as cover art by Stephane Belin. Check out the video below to learn more!
Have kids? Would you purchase these books for them? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.
While the World of Warcraft: Legion alpha -- well, technically it’s still called that, though the servers say beta but that’s just nitpicking -- has introduced testers to a lot of new features, zones, the Demon Hunter and some of the lore behind the expansion, those things pale in comparison to the new way of playing that most will encounter both in PvE and in PvP. Blizzard is heavily invested in pruning the skills of every class to both make them simpler, or at least least less micromanagement-oriented, and to fit in the version of the “fantasy” that developers envision for each class and spec.
Read more of Suzie Ford's World of Warcraft: Legion Alpha - Revitalizing Group Play & Class Fantasies?
Legendary Entertainment has released a new minute long trailer for the upcoming Warcraft movie. Warcraft is due out in theatres in May (EU) and June (NA) of this year. Check it out and let us know what you think!