Blizzard Entertainment today announced the creation of a book-publishing label, Blizzard Publishing, dedicated to developing and releasing new Blizzard publications and reissuing out-of-print titles in the company’s Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo settings. These releases will either come directly and through ongoing global partnerships.
Blizzard has plans to make several of their publishing arm’s upcoming releases available in multiple formats, including print, audiobook, and e-book.
The first books published under the Blizzard Publishing label include two sets of previously released novels and manga. The books include titles under the Blizzard Legends banner, including Warcraft: The Last Guardian by Jeff Grubb, Warcraft: Lord of the Clans by Christie Golden, and World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde by Christie Golden.
Titles included in the Blizzard Manga banner include Warcraft Legends: Volume One, with stories by Richard A. Knaak, Dan Jolley, and Jae-Hwan Kim as well as Warcraft Legends: Volume Two, with stories by Richard A. Knaak, Dan Jolley, and Aaron Sparrow.
Future releases in the Blizzard Legends and Blizzard Manga series will include titles across multiple Blizzard franchises.
I still actively play World of Warcraft. No, I don’t mean that I just log into my garrison a few times a week to collect gold and send out followers.
I love pets, but that’s not why I log on. There are many more I have to farm, but don’t have the energy to put into hunting them down.
I love exploring the beautiful worlds, but that’s not why I log on. I’ve seen almost every inch of every map.
I love interesting quest lines, but that’s now why I log on. I just don’t have the motivation needed to finish Lore Master.
I love being an insanely geared druid, slaughtering enemies and fighting for top dps, but that’s not why I log on. I’ve stopped caring as much about that.
My main character in World of Warcraft, a feral druid named Riku.
So why do I log on?
I log on every Wednesday to raid Heroic Hellfire Citadel, even though my druid has, for the most part, best in slot gear. Even my legendary ring is maxed out at 795. This is the state that most of my guildmates are in: all with great gear, all know every fight, and we slaughter every boss without much thought.
Yet, every Wednesday a group of people come together, yes, to raid, but also to laugh and talk and banter.
I’ve been in the guild for nine years, yet I still feel like a newer member. Scalebane has held strong since before the release of World of Warcraft and is the oldest active guild on our server. They are my second family and I enjoy every single game I play with them, but World of Warcraft is the one that we all play together.
All of them know my name is “Renee”, but I am still called “Riku”, because that’s my name in this family of mine. Durkk, Tullen, Estara, Rel, Riin, Kinan, Raun, Frakir, Cyria, Perse, Sumerr, Nite, and more. These are names of the people in my family, even when Frakir is fondly called “Fucker”. Sure, I know they are Joe, Dan, Katrina, etc, but that’s not their name to me.
People are often startled when they hear I am still raiding and even more surprised when they see the strength of the bonds in the guild. This wasn’t always the reaction, though, because guilds meant more to everyone in the past. I remember when I could tell a lot about a person just by their guild, because it said a lot about the people they hang out with and what they enjoy doing. Nowadays, even the great raiding guilds are falling to the side, even Paragon has disbanded.
World of Warcraft is an amazing MMORPG. The content is expansive and high quality, but people consume it so fast that only the end game and random grinding/farming prizes are left to entertain. Thus, with all MMOs, a main draw is that you are playing with other people; people you can befriend; people you can grief.
Blizzard has done a great job of creating content, events and areas that help form connections between people, but that has been reduced greatly by group finding tools. They make the content easier to play, but greatly lessen the connections to the people you are playing with.
You no longer battle outside of raids, running from the graveyard back into the instance. Or recruit people in town to adventure out to the closest dungeon. Or banter outside of the battleground while waiting for the next one to begin.
Looking for Raid, Looking for Group, Dungeon Finder, battleground queues — all of these tools make the content faster and easier to access, but greatly reduce the need to interact with other people, especially in ways that encourage camaraderie. They make World of Warcraft easier to consume, they make it less intimidating for people who are shy, but they also prevent people from forming the connections that keep drawing them back to the game long after they’ve had their fill of content.
People who play through these tools do not have to be nice to the people they are playing with, they do not have to learn the fights or even their own class, and no one is motivated to teach them, because no one they play with is likely to group with them again. Due to this, people are much more likely to be toxic or simply give up on a group or someone that is not doing well. You have more players getting angry, more people being yelled at, and new players being so confused about boss fights that Blizzard implemented their own guides to fights in game. Though I’m still not sure anyone reads them.
Blizzard’s subscriber numbers dropped to their lowest numbers and Blizzard has stopped reporting them all together. While people have blamed slow releases of content for scaring people off, I think that Garrisons removing town interactions and looking for group tools reducing the need to work closely with other players are what is causing subscribers to drop like flies.
Is there a good solution? It’s hard to say. Hopefully Class Halls will not be as lonesome as Garrisons, there will be more content that requires working together, and Dalaran will once again regain it’s glory, druids humping pigs and all.
Blizzard announced this morning that they are partnering with Scholastic to create a new series of children’s books based on World of Warcraft.
The series, titled World of Warcraft: Traveler, will follow Aramar Thorne, the 12 year old son of the great explorer, Captain Greydon Thorne. Due to a series of unfortunate events, Aram finds himself far from home, only equipped with his father’s magical compass and his sketchbook to help him on his way. His unlikely companion for his adventures is the second mate of his father’s ship, Makasa, who is a tough, teenage girl.
Blizzard revealed some bombshell news today for World of Warcraft: Legion during their panel at Blizzcon. Changes include items, classes, professions, and a full cosmetic unlock system. They’re even adding an option to hide your shoulder slot item. Mainly of note is the ability to unlock an items appearance into a collection simply by owning it.
They revealed that they will go back and unlock the appearance of every quest reward you ever got in the past. This vastly expands the customization options available and will add a large variance of player appearances in game. Tabards, shirts, and weapon enchants were also listed among the cosmetic unlocks as well as the ability to save outfits that change with specialization. Blizzard went above and beyond and made all these unlocks account wide.
Check out the rest of the (huge!) changes and panel slides after the bump!Read More
Today at Blizzcon, Blizzard revealed some upcoming changes for World of Warcraft based around player feedback. There are some very nice changes coming that I think will make a lot of players very pleased.
Here it is in text form from Blizzard themselves. The images from the panel are included at the bottom of this post.
The goal of the class changes was to keep classes fun, stop the PvP CC madness, make numbers easier to understand and slow down the pace of healing a little bit.
Removing abilities will make the game more fun.
Fantasy, visuals, cool effects, powerful, interactive, and abilities with a clear purpose are fun.
Redundant abilities are not fun (Frostfire bolt / Frostbolt for Fire and Arcane)
Abilities with inconsistent fantasy are not fun.
Situational abilities are not fun (Nourish)
Abilities that have been balanced to mediocrity are not fun (Mortal Strike)
Abilities with no feedback are not fun (Blood Strike – No real animation, visual, or fantasy)
Abilities that are unreliable are not fun (Feral druid positional requirements)
Complicated abilities are not fun (Symbiosis)
Returning players had more and more trouble figuring out how their class worked as more abilities were added. You shouldn’t have to go to another website just to figure out how to play your character.
The old talent system was scrapped to help combat this problem, but it didn’t solve it.
Players didn’t enjoy healing because of health bar whiplash, players were always almost constantly dying, healing consisted of spamming heals constantly.
Smart heals were too smart, the game was playing itself for you, you didn’t have to do any targeting. You ended up with a healing rotation and not paying attention to who was injured.
Mana was scaling poorly, lower item level characters had not enough mana, higher item level characters had excessive amounts of mana.
In Warlords, players have double the effective health, giving you longer to think and target your heals.
In Warlords, smart heals aren’t as smart. They just heal anyone who is injured rather than the most injured.
In Warlords, healers will have enough mana even at lower item levels.
In Warlords, Spirit is now on less slots, so you can’t trivialize mana anymore.
Healing will be more tactical and allow players to make decisions while healing in Warlords.
Players will have sufficient mana but not excessive mana in Warlords.
Once a tier token dropped, you had to go to a vendor, find the right item, figure out what gems and reforges you need, upgrade the item, and then you were finally ready to use it. Once you were ready to use it, you may have to change gems and reforges on your other items as well.
Kill a boss, loot an item, equip the item.
Tier tokens will convert to an item just like the Timeless Isle tokens, this removes one of the steps.
Hit and expertise are removed from the game, meaning you don’t need to reforge and regem all the things with every new item you got.
Item upgrades are also gone, removing another step.
Enchants and sockets are on fewer slots now, helping remove another thing to do.
Caps and breakpoints are gone, making stat customization easier.
In Mists of Pandaria, loot can drop that no one in the raid can use, which didn’t feel good. Set bonuses and stats that switch on your main armor slots help with this problem. Spirit not being on most slots also helps.
Dodge and Parry are now bonus armor.
There are now more sources of loot, especially during questing and leveling in Draenor.
Versatility, Multistrike, Tertiary stats, gem sockets, and randomly upgraded quest items also help to add variety.
Gladiator’s Resolve was a small enough change that it didn’t need another spec.
In case you missed it, the legendary item in Warlords is a ring.
Legendary weapons can be added when they fit the story / current state of the game.
Discipline priests couldn’t be nerfed earlier because so many guilds relied on them. Making guilds unable to defeat an encounter they could defeat yesterday is not fun. Doing so would have required retuning many of the Siege of Orgrimmar fights.
Seeing the bonus on tier tokens before they are used is something the developers are looking at. The wrong person getting the bonus won’t have a large impact on the raid (but it will to the person getting the loot).
There is still significant complexity, challenge, and depth in the game even after the Warlords changes. Specs are assessable as possible, but there is still depth in the class gameplay and encounters.
Tanks are better at soloing and the game isn’t really balanced around it.
Everyone will be able to solo old content at some point, some classes may just take more gear or time than others.
Druid travel forms being separate buttons is something that will be added with glyphs.
Shadow priests getting new / updated visuals is something that might be addressed in the future.
Mana gems didn’t add anything interesting to the gameplay, so it was removed.
Destro DPS is fine at level 100.
Raid cooldowns aren’t as important anymore, so there should be significant diversity in classes brought to raids.
Rogues needing to be behind the boss is part of overall awareness needed to play the class and how the encounters are balanced.
Professions making things that no one would ever use didn’t make sense, so going forward you can craft actually useful things while leveling. The dust from DEing things should still be sufficient. The amount of dust required to make things is tuned around the amount of dust available.
Adding more filtering and options to the dungeon finder would just increase queue times, especially for DPS. The Group Finder should help players that want to make groups for non standard runs.
The combo point UI could be improved, but a solution hasn’t been found yet. The team will look at what solutions players come up with for displaying combo points.
Fresh from our review of Christie Golden’s fantastic Jaina Proudmoore story, we’re happy to announce that the next physical Warcraft novel is on the way. This time, author Michael A. Stackpole is tackling a story focused on Vol’jin, leader of the Darkspear trolls. Considering the inclusion of Vol’jin and other disgruntled Horde members in the Tides of War book, this does seem like a natural progression for readers.Read More
The magical words appared in World of Warcraft announcing Mists of Pandaria had launched! Sadly I watched as my guild mates ran off to make Pandaren monks, however I figured I’d go check out the action around Stormwind. I was delighted to learn that Battle Pet Trainers would train my character even though I don’t have the expansion! What followed has almost been an hour of awesome collecting action!Read More
Stuck at work, missed the midnight launch, and want to know what you’ll be getting with your MoP box when you rush into the game store later on today? We’ve got you covered! I just picked up my standard edition of the game and here are some images from the unboxing.Read More
As has been noted before I’m currently reading World of Warcraft – Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War by Christie Golden and I’m loving it. Though it’s definitely a book you’ll want to pick up ASAP if you want to be the nerdy one like me that can impress your guild mates with how much you know about Theramore’s Fall.Read More
For those geared up and leveled up enough to take on the challenge, Theramore’s Fall is now available to all level 85′s leading up to the Mists of Pandaria expansion launch! After launch, you’ll be able to que up for Scenarios at level 90 in Mists of Pandaria, which is what the Theramore’s Fall level requirement will convert to after this week. These are small instances that group three adventurers together.
So how is the first released scenario and how does it tie into Christie Golden’s wonderful Tides of War novel?Read More
Though it is very much a Pokémon system for WOW, I’m very eager to get into the Mists of Pandaria Pet Battle System. For those unfamiliar with the concept, the pet battle system takes your collectable yet non-combat companions and turns them into characters you can level up, teach skills to, and even hunt in the wild to add to your collection!
So instead of just buying or finding pets as item drops, you can now encounter and capture pets in the wild. I’m excited for this. The main story to Pandaria sounds wonderful to me and I’m eager to enjoy that new WOW content, but the pet battle system sounds like a bonus game that comes with the universe you’ve already come to know and love. It’s there for those who want to finally name that hard earned rare drop pet and turn it into a high level champion of this new system. Read on for more details Read More
Due to a recent breach on Blizzard’s internal network the company is recommending users change their Battle.net account passwords. The actual password info accessed was scrambled, and this recommendation is just a precaution. It seems no personal information was accessed says Blizzard.
Blizzard also notes that secret question answers may have been accessed as well as mobile authenticators. Automated propts are planned to inform users of change their secret questions and update their authenticator software.
After the break you can find the full securty update from Blizzard.