This week in the WoW Factor we’re throwing a net around all the Warcraft happenings and reeling them in. This week is the start of something a little new. Let’s zone in.
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!
Any of you who follow the film scene are probably aware that the Warcraft film began production in Vancouver last Monday, January 20. It’s actually happening! The film is still on track to open in just over two years on March 11, 2016.
Draenor Gifts Early
A pretty significant piece of news dropped recently in which Blizzard announced that anyone who pre-orders the upcoming expansion, Warlords of Draenor, will receive their goodies immediately. This includes the exclusive pet and mount - both of which have not been announced as of yet - that typically ship with each deluxe and collector’s edition of the expansion. Additionally, the boost-to-90 feature that was announced at Blizzcon that will grant each account that upgrades to Warlords one free character boost to level 90 will now be available immediately to those accounts that pre-order the expansion as well - you won’t need to wait for the expansion to ship to get your free upgrade! If you ask me, this is a great pre-order incentive that feels rewarding and not a cheap gimmick like what most of the game industry seems to be doing these days when it comes to pre-order incentives.
In this same announcement, Blizzard also mentioned exploring the opportunity to sell additional level 90 boosts for real money. While no price was announced, the community seems to be divided on this topic. Some argue that this will bring more inexperienced players to end game who haven’t properly learned their class through regular leveling gameplay. It seems that most players I’ve spoken with and posts I’ve read on the subject seem to think that additional level-boosts should only be available to accounts who have naturally reached level 90 with at least one character. How do you feel about additional pay-boosts? Let us know in the comments!
Character Models Update
In the first of a new series of articles, titled Artcraft on the official World of Warcraft site, Blizzard is bringing its fans into the loop when it comes to the creation of the new character models they’ve been working on. If you’re interested in this process and it’s complexities, I recommend you give this article a read. It’s really interesting and provides wonderful insight into how monumental this task really is. In the post they also reveal the current state of the new human female models (you can see a few of the other current races on the Warlords of Draenor mini-site) which are looking great.
It’s important to note that not only are the models getting an upgrade but the animations are as well and having spent a lot of time on the build at Blizzcon that featured some of these new models, it really shows - you have to see them in motion to really see how far they’ve come. You can expect to see the same animation detail that was showcased with the Pandaren in Mists.
The Iron Reaver
A new mount, the Iron Skyreaver, has hit the Battle.net shop and in-game store and it’s bad-ass! For $25 this new, iron-plated, double-headed dragon equipped with two engines strapped to its sides can be yours. While it’s a shame that there is no way to earn this mount in-game, like all the other real-money mounts, it’s one that really makes me consider cracking open my wallet. Check it out in action in this official video:
Hearthstone Beta Opens
Last week also marked the beginning of the Hearthstone open beta following a new beta patch that introduced several card changes. Some of the major changes include:
- Unleash the Hounds now costs 2 (down from 4)
- Pyroblast now costs 10 (up from 8)
- Blood Imp is now a 0/1 (down from 1/1) and now reads: Stealth. At the end of your turn, give another random friendly minion +1 Health.
- Defender of Argus is now a 2/3 (down from 3/3)
- Novice Engineer is now a 1/1 (down from 1/2)
- Sylvanas Windrunner now costs 6 (up from 5)
While this will most likely be the last major set of card changes we’ll see, some of these are pretty substantial. The big one that stands out for most players is the change to Pyroblast - it now costs 10 mana (up from 8). This now delays mages and their massive damage dealing spell by two turns and gives their opponents more time to defeat them before the inevitable spell is thrown at your face. It has been interesting to see how some of the meta game has evolved to burn down mages before they hit turn 8 and getting their opponents down to 20 health - two pyroblasts at this point would ensure a victory. With this change there’s more hope for those taking on these burst damage dealers. Check out the full patch notes here and if you haven’t already, hop into Hearthstone and give it a try - no prior card game knowledge is required and it features a fantastic tutorial. There’s no reason not to give it a spin and see what it’s all about.
What do you think about the new Heartstone patch and the new WoW character model upgrades? Let us know in the comments below!
Reza Lackey / Reza is a giant nerd who loves video games, board games, film and way too many other things. Works in the film industry, on some startups and thinks science is cool. Also launches rockets.