During today's investor call-in, Activision-Blizzard revealed the fourth quarter results for 2013. Bobby Kotick stated that World of Warcraft subscriptions were up to 7.8 million, slightly higher than last quarter's 7.7 million. In addition, Starcraft II was the best selling PC title in 2013 and Diablo III has sold over 15 million copies across all platforms.
Blizzard Entertainment has a n expansion to the top - selling PC and console game Diablo® III and another major new release. Also in our pipeline for 2014 and the next few years are at least three potentially groundbreaking new free - to - play franchises — Blizzard’s Hearthstone™: Heroes of Warcraft™ and Heroes of the Storm ™, and Activision Publishing’s Call of Duty Online . We believe these games have great global potential. Free - to - play as a business model has now achieved scale, both in the West and in China. Hearthstone , which released in open be ta on PC last month and which Blizzard Entertainment plan s to expand this year to tablets and smartphones, is already attracting millions of players with strong engagement and monetization in the West and China, putting it on track to join World of Warcraft ® , Diablo , and StarC raft ® as their fourth mega franchise.”
Read the financial overview here.
The Blizzard Store has been closed since late 2013 but, as of today, has reopened under the name "Blizzard Gear". As expected, the site features clothing, artwork, toys, etc. Interested World of Warcraft players can also get their hands on a physical authenticator for account protection. Most interestingly, there is a new "Caverns of Time" section that will allow players to get hold of Blizzcon items from years past.
Check out Blizzard Gear.
Blizzard has created an absolutely amazing new infographic to show off the impact of the past decade in World of Warcraft. Love it or hate it, there's no denying WoW's impact. They say a picture is worth a thousand words so take a look and let us know what you think in the comments. (click the image below for the full infographic and stats)
One of the immediate bonuses that World of Warcraft players will be able to take advantage of when preodering Warlords of Draenor is an instant "boost" to level 90 for a new or lower-level character. According to several posted screenshots on Imgur.com, the boost is already existing on the public test realm, perhaps an indication that preorders for the Warlords expansion are coming in the very near future.
In the past the WoW Factor column has focused primarily on World of Warcraft and occasionally dipped into other Warcraft related happenings such as the upcoming film. Going forward I am going to try to make this column about all things Warcraft, including Hearthstone. I am also considering renaming the column to reflect this change but I haven’t quite settled on a new name so stay tuned for that. Now moving on to the good stuff!
Read more of Reza Lackey's The WoW Factor: More Warcraft Please.
One of the most exciting part of the upcoming Warlords of Draenor expansion for World of Warcraft is the revamped character models. In a new developer blog post on the official site, Senior Art Director Chris Robinson takes players on a step-by-step journey through the model overhaul. Included in the blog post are several new screens of the human female model. Be sure to click on each screen to see a more comprehensive image.
We’re looking at these model revamps as a sort of “spiritual update” to the art content that currently exists in-game—except we’re completely redoing them from scratch. That includes the base model, skin tone variations, customization options (e.g. wrinkles, scars, moles, earrings, etc.), hairstyles, and any skin variations for NPCs you see out in the world, like Iron Dwarves or Leper Gnomes. We’re pretty excited about some of the ideas you've given us for new customization and skin options you’d like to see, but our first goal—which is already a monumental endeavor—is to make sure that the visual content that currently exists is brought up to or surpasses the level of quality you see in current boss models, the Pandaren, and central NPCs like the new Vol’jin model.
Check out the full post on the World of Warcraft site.
While no date for the prepurchase of the World of Warcraft expansion, Warlords of Draenor, has been released, Blizzard is revealing details about the preorder program. Once available, those who preorder Warlords will receive the in-game mount and pet immediately, rather than waiting until the expansion's release.
In addition, the single-character boost to level 90 will also be granted immediately on preordering Warlords of Draenor. This is a change from Blizzcon but is based on player feedback to give time for acquainting themselves with the new character and to get it equipped appropriately prior to the expansion's release.
Lastly, Blizzard is exploring ways to give players the ability to boost multiple characters to 90 without having to purchase multiple editions of the game.
We’re looking forward to the closed beta test, and we’re excited we’re able to give players their character boost immediately upon pre-purchasing—hopefully that will help tide you over while you’re waiting for the epic battle for Draenor to begin.
Read all of the details on the World of Warcraft site.
EDITED for new information (thanks Gremriel!): A new mount is now available in the World of Warcraft in-game store. Called the Iron Skyreaver, the mount is currently only available in the EU while in game. It has not yet arrived in the online store.
Senior PvP designer Brian Holinka recently announced on Twitter that Blizzard is planning a new PVP season before the release of the next expansion, Warlords of Draenor. Brian's Tweet indicated that new gear and rewards will be coming along with this new season and that additional details, including a timeline, will be coming soon.
Read more of Reza Lackey's The WoW Factor: The Buddy System.
According to a Twitter post by Blizzard's Brian Holinka, World of Warcraft players can expect a new PvP season to start and finish prior to the launch of the Warlords of Draenor expansion. The good folks at WoWInsider.com have speculated that, at the earliest, the current season would end in February and a new season towards the end of June.
The speculation has it that the new PvP season would end and mark the release of WoD.
Can we therefore predict the length of season 15? Not really, but we can confidently say it's likely to be over 20 weeks. Bearing in mind that we're 16 weeks into season 14, we may well have another 4+ weeks to go, meaning that season 14 will end at best February 4, so a 20-week duration would put season 15's end on July 1. This would be highly optimistic. (Edit: And as commenters add, the season end has previously marked the pre-patch, not the expansion itself.)
Think they're right? Let us know what you think in the comments.
It’s no secret that World of Warcraft inspires many people to great heights of passion, both because of their affection for or antipathy towards the game. In the nine years since WoW launched, every subsequent MMO has been compared to it in one way or another, usually by those who mean that comparison as an insult to the developers who made the game.
Head through the jump to read Suzie Ford's editorial, WoW Clone - You Say It Like It's a Bad Thing.
The parental controls on Battle.Net have been updated to protect user accounts from excessive purchases. The default setting will prevent unauthorized purchases in the World of Warcraft in-game shop.
On January 7, 2014 or shortly afterwards, we’re making a change to Battle.net® Parental Controls: a new default setting will prevent in-game purchases for accounts that have Parental Controls turned on. The account will not be able to:
- Make purchases in the World of Warcraft® in-game Shop
- Make real-money purchases in Hearthstone™: Heroes of Warcraft
- Make purchases in the Diablo® III real-money auction house (note: the auction house will be permanently closed on March 18, 2014)
- We’re making this change to ensure that Parental Controls users will have more control over real-money purchases in Blizzard games. No action is needed to keep this default setting and prevent in-game purchases.
- To enable in-game purchases for this account:
- Log in to Battle.net and visit the Retrieve Parental Controls page.
- Enter your Parental Controls email address.
- Click the Send Parental Controls Email button.
- Check your Parental Controls email for a message from Blizzard Entertainment.
- Click the link under the account user’s name. This will take you to the Parental Controls setup page.
- Under the Purchase Settings section, check Allow in-game purchases, and click the Save Settings button.
If you’d like to remove Parental Controls from this Battle.net account, visit our Adding and Removing Battle.net Parental Controls support article for detailed instructions.
Read more on the World of Warcraft forum.
In a new "blue post" on the official World of Warcraft forums, "Lore" takes to the airwaves to discuss some thoughts about the Looking For Raid tool and how things will change in the upcoming Warlords of Draenor expansion. Among other things, the team is looking to make Flex more like LFR to give players who are past the tourist-y LFR a way to make meaningful end-game progression.
That's where Flexible Mode came in. We've been absolutely thrilled to see how well Flex has worked out, not just technically but also in how much the community has embraced it. We originally designed the feature focused on smaller or less hardcore guilds who maybe couldn't guarantee a full roster every time they wanted to raid, but we've been pleased to see that it's also been working extremely well for pick up groups (particularly through third-party services such as OpenRaid or oQueue).
In Warlords of Draenor, we're implementing a completely new Group Finder, which will allow players to find or create cross-realm groups for pretty much anything, including raids. We think that sort of environment -- finding an organized group, with a leader, and strategy, and possibly even using voice chat -- will be much more appealing and enjoyable for the player who craves an endgame raiding experience but can't find a team that fits their schedule. Plus, having an easy-to-use in-game Group Finder will, we believe, make finding such a group just as easy as queueing for Raid Finder (or easier, if you often find yourself in Raid Finder groups you'd rather not be a part of).
Read more on the World of Warcraft forum.
The World of Warcraft support forum has been updated with a blue post that lays out some pretty serious information about a potential trojan that has even cracked through the authenticator security mesure. The trojan can access both a player's account information and authenticator password.
We've been receiving reports regarding a dangerous Trojan that is being used to compromise player's accounts even if they are using an authenticator for protection. The Trojan acts in real time to do this by stealing both your account information and the authenticator password at the time you enter them.
If your account has been compromised recently, I'd recommend looking for the Trojan. It can be identified by creating an MSInfo file and then looking in the Startup Program section of that file for either "Disker" or "Disker64". It will usually appear like this:
Disker rundll32.exe c:\users\name\appdata\local\temp\w_win.dll,dw Name-PC\Name Startup
Disker64 rundll32.exe c:\users\name\appdata\local\temp\w_64.dll,dw Name-PC\Name Startup
We are currently looking for more information on the Trojan. We have not been able to locate any anti-virus programs that will remove it besides just reformatting your system. If you have been recently compromised and find it on your system please reply with the following pieces of information.
A list of any addons you recently installed along with where you got them.
A list of any programs you recently installed along with where you got them.
Any security programs you have run and their results.
Join the ongoing discussion on the World of Warcraft forum.
According to several tips, World of Warcraft players are receiving an email survey from Blizzard Entertainment. In it, they ask players what they feel is a worthwhile pricetag for an instant level 90 character in addition to survey how much players feel about a variety of prices for the expansion itself.
One of the features that many World of Warcraft players are looking forward to is the newly announced garrisons feature. In this week's WoW Factor, we take a look at garrisons and what they mean to players and to the game. Read on!
One of the most asked for features from WoW players was the addition of player housing. Blizzard acknowledged this desire for gamers to have a part of the game to call their own, but the developers didn't want to add this feature unless they could make it feel like it belonged in the world. They also said on many occasions that their take on player housing would need to also offer some sort of complimentary gameplay mechanics beyond simply choosing where to put a chair or what color to make a wall - there would need to be a compelling reason from a gameplay standpoint to introduce such a feature.
Read more of Reza Lackey's The WoW Factor: Delving More Into Garrisons.
Ron Nakada, WoW software engineer, has had quite a year. Starting with getting married and ending with a cancer diagnosis, one could say it's been unforgettable. Ron, however, needs our help. Diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer, the insurance coverage between short- and long-term coverage contains a gap that could cause his family to fall immeasurably behind in medical bills. Ron's friends are trying to help.
Today Ron continues with great determination and spirit on a path of healing. However, some emergencies have occurred along the way, and Ron’s short-term disability-insurance, which did not cover monthly expenses, ended recently. Long-term disability-insurance will not start for a while and provides an even lesser benefit that falls far short of their monthly needs. Ron has an urgent need right now to pay accumulated bills (including credit cards he has had to rely on to get by) and a longer term need for assistance while he continues the battle.
Let’s pull together again to help our dear friend Ron! Donations go to Ron immediately. Any amount you can donate today will help fulfill short-term needs this month. I’ve set the goal at $8,000 in one week to reflect the urgent short-term need, but the bigger goal is to reach $25,000 by mid January. Let’s hit that first goal so Ron and his family can enjoy this Christmas without the stress of overdue bills and the threat of utilities shutting off. After achieving that, we will extend the deadline and update the amount to the final goal.
Read more about Ron, the campaign and more on the Help Ron Beat Cancer campaign page.
In this week's WoW Factor, we take a look at all the WoW news of the past week including a film update and a first look at the new quest helper. Read on before heading to the comments.
One of the long term design goals for WoW has been to have players spend more time in the game when they're playing. It's common practice for us to tab out several times to access resources outside of the game to help us with our quests, tips on defeating bosses and what to do next. For example, the recently added dungeon journal offers dungeon and raid maps, boss information and the ability to sort through loot tables. While add-ons have offered similar features, I'm of the belief that the fewer add-ons that I need to use, the better. This week on the WoW factor we're checking out the upcoming Adventure Guide that will ship with the Warlords of Draenor expansion. But first, some news.
Read more of Reza Lackey's The WoW Factor: Adventure Time.
World of Warcraft players wanting to buy the latest mount or pet for their collections (among other things), can now do so via an in-game store. Blizzard has laid out the details on the World of Warcraft blog.
You can now browse and purchase a bevy of mounts and pets* from directly within World of Warcraft through our newly added Shop interface. Just click the Shop icon on the menu bar once you’ve logged in to a character, and you’ll be able to pick out a new friend to add to your collection and start your adventures together right away. By combining the best of cutting-edge goblin and gnomish technology, we’ve also made it possible for you to receive your new pal right in your inventory (or via mail if your inventory is full).
Read more on the World of Warcraft site.
The Tourist is our way of revisiting favorites of the past, recent and otherwise. In our latest column, we take a look at World of Warcraft's Mist of Pandaria expansion and what it brought to the game. Read on and the leave your memories of Pandaria in the comments.
WoW was my first true MMO love. I remember being awed by everything when I made my first character, captured in the wonder of what lay ahead and the mystery of all around. It was scary, and thrilling, and extremely fun. I bought a cheap laptop just so I could play during my breaks at college. When I discovered instances, I called a friend who was also new and gushed. He logged right on and joined me in the Deadmines. I won the blue mage staff from the last boss and believed that I'd found something so rare that I was in the money. Shortly after, I was scouring the internet trying to figure out how to un-soulbind an item. This was the mystery, the adventure, and the compelling thread that drew me through the next three years.
Read more of Chris Coke's The Tourist: Looking Back at Mists of Pandaria.