Hearthstone’s New Expansion: Rastakhan’s Rumble!

Let out a Roar you Trollish fans! Hearthstone has unleashed it’s next major expansion at this year’s Blizzcon, unveiling it’s third and final expansion in the Year of the Raven. Anticipated to be the biggest digital card game this year by SuperData, raking in almost $414 Million Globally, Hearthstone releases its new expansion in varying years, rotating out older expansions at the end of the cycle so new players can jump in comfortably with the latest card packs and without needing to buy a sheaf of the older content. Its newly announced expansion, Rastakhan’s Rumble, is poised to honor this tradition with its December 4th global release on PC and Mobile.

For those of you not currently tuned into the World of Warcraft and its sizeable lore, Rastakhan is the king of the Zandalari Tribe, the greatest and most powerful troll empire to ever grace Azeroth. His importance can’t be understated, as he even features in Patch 8.1’s upcoming raid, The Battle of Dazar’alor. Rastakhan makes his mark upon Hearthstone with an event so powerful it, “only occurs once in a generation,” where every troll of every tribe across Azeroth unites in a great event to honor the Loa, their spiritual wild gods. Gathering in Stranglethorn’s Gurubashi Arena, the Loa have selected their teams and are now ready for Rastakhan’s Rumble!

The Class Champions of the Rumble.

Trolls are the name of the game in this Hearthstone expansion, and no toe has been left uncounted in that regard. Alongside a slew of new cards, every class has been drafted onto a Loa’s team and has not only received a Legendary Troll Champion card as their team captain, but the Loa themselves have joined the brawl as Legendary cards designed to act as match closers. We detail the full list below:

Druids have been brought to the forefront by Wardruid Loti and Gonk, the Raptor Loa for Gonk’s Raptors. One of the most savage teams on the battlefield, Druid cards will focus on maximizing their offensive destruction from brambly skin to razored claws of every kind.

Hunters have been summoned by the great Zul’jin of the Amani to serve Halazzi, the wily Lynx Loa. Together, Halazzi’s Lynxes are perhaps one of the most aggressive and cunning teams, building long-reaching plans of strategy to hunt and crush their enemies.

Mages must answer the call of Hex Lord Malacrass and his prayers to Jan’alai, the Dragonhawk Loa. Jan’alai’s Dragonhawks devastate the field with powerful magics and primal spell casts, often playing off of the Mage’s hero powers to weave intricate words of destruction.

Paladins have been bidden by High Priest Thekal, the immortal prophet of Shirvallah. Together, Shirvallah’s Tigers forge an army of zealots, where the most pious become truly immortal through their god’s powers, returning from the battlefield only to be summoned again.

Priests must serve Princess Talanji and the newest patron of the Zandalari, Bwonsamdi, the Loa of Death. Her future sold for the survival of her people, Bwonsamdi’s Zombies revel in the destructive powers of the shadows and necromancy, wreaking terrible destruction only to reap enemies back into their service.

Rogues head the call of the greatest pirate in the south seas, Captain Hooktusk. Bidden by the Shark Loa, Gral’s Sharks look to win the Rumble as slyly as they can, often bending the rules until they break and taken every opportunity to cheat their way to victory.

Shaman have been called to heed Zentimo, the last Witch Doctor of the might Frog Loa. Together, Krag’wa’s Frogs unleash the most potent Hexes that Shaman can weave, blasting the battlefield with one of the more magic-heavy compositions yet seen from a Shaman Hearthstone expansion.

The Warlocks are the most villainous group of the Rumble, aiming to win by any means necessary. Led by High Priestess Jeklik, Hir’eek’s Bats will throw away even the very souls of their own team members if it will secure a victory for their twisted Loa.

Last and certainly not least, Warriors will find a like and violent mind with War Master Voone. Akali’s Rhinos have only one strategy in their mind, and that is to deliver as much punishment with the heaviest armor possible. To them, if the problem can’t be solved by hitting things, its a problem not worth solving.

Rastakhan's Rumble

The Spirit of the Shark, one of the new Spirit cards for the Rogue class.

Things do not simply begin and end with the Champions of the Loa in Rastakhan’s Rumble; while they potentially offer devastating effects such as Hex Lord Malacrass’s battlecry adding your starting hand back into your current one, they are not the crux of strategy. Instead the Loa have gifted their teams with new Spirit cards to do battle with. These new Spirit Cards are based on that particular class’ Loa, and are designed to be a resilient, continuous buff for their team while on the field. Yu-Gi-Oh! players might equate them similar to Field or Continuous Spell Cards. The Warlock Spirit of the Bat card allows the player to sacrifice their creatures, giving a minion in your hand +1/+1 for each friendly minion that perishes on the battlefield.

In addition to new Spirit, Loa and Legendary cards comes a new card type: Overkill. Designed around the idea of truly humiliating an opponent in the gladiatorial combat that the Gurubashi Arena is known for, Overkill allows certain cards to re-enact their effects every time it kills a character. One of the weapons demoed at Blizzcon, Sul’thraze, also possesses Overkill, allowing it to continuously attack if it can kill a minion with a weapon attack. This new Overkill option allows players to create devastating combo effects, chaining cards like the Warlock Hellfire together with Sul’thraze to potentially wipe an entire arena clean of late-game monsters.

With the launch of Rastakhan’s Rumble will also come a new singleplayer mode. Rumble Run will allow you to choose one of the troll champions and climb the ranks of the Gurubashi Arena, slaughtering your way to fame and glory in the name of your Loa. Much like Dungeon Run from Kobolds and Catacombs, you’ll begin with a small deck of cards and receive new ones in succession through each battle. Completing all of the challenges in Rumble Run will reward players with an exclusive card back.

Rastakhan's Rumble

Sul’thraze the Lasher, one of the new Overkill cards for the Rumble.

Prior to its December 4th release, Blizzard is also offering two pre-order bundles for Rastakhan’s Rumble. The first is a 17-card pack entitled the Challenger’s Bundle, packaged with an exclusive cardback. The second, the Rumble Bundle, comes with 50 card packs and includes King Rastakhan himself as an alternate Shaman Hero for players to select.

A new expansion for Hearthstone is desperately need and fully appreciated, especially when looking at the competition Blizzard will soon be facing in the CCG market; Valve’s Artifact sets to debut just later this month and the already highly successful Magic: The Gathering Arena is in beta and quickly approaching its launch state. An expansion now is just what the Witch Doctor ordered, and looks to close out Hearthstone’s Year of the Raven with a true Shirvallan Roar.

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World of Warcraft: What’s New in 8.1 and the Rise of Azshara

“What’s next?” is the biggest question players have been asking about World of Wacraft. With a tumultuous end-game found in Battle for Azeroth, players are not necessarily in a good position to enjoy their time (apart from the 68 Million turtles players have helped make it to the water). The controversial Azerite system, as well as random Mythic Dungeon rewards, have made players feel as if player agency has been utterly stripped from the progression path. Senior Game Designer Ian Hazzikostas’ panel at Blizzcon 2018 worked to build up the world around these systems and promises to corrections.

Starting off the panel, Patch 8.1 Tides of Vengeance was recapped for players unfamiliar with the public test updates. While they focused on the major content updates, including the raid-tier for the Battle of Dazar’alor, Ian also revealed datamined and upcoming adjustments to Azerite traits, armor acquisition and improved quality of life changes for the player progression experience. Warfront adjustment is also occurring, introducing regional world-quests throughout controlled regions and improving resource acquisition to increase faction preparation to wage war on the Warfront. Tides will also feature Legion-Invasion styled events called assaults, where the opposing faction will land on your ally’s shores to wage war directly.

Tides of Vengeance has been confirmed for a December 11th release in the US Regions, releasing on the 12th and 13th for the EU and Asia respectively. Battle of Dazar’alor will release early next year after the holiday season.

Hazzikostas’ then turned the panel over to Senior Game Designer Ryan Shwayder who went into detail about 8.1.5, one of the interim mini-patches. In 8.1.5 both the Zanadalari and Kul Tiran Humans will be released for the Horde and Alliance respectively.

With the Zandalari nation’s rapid destabilization in leadership, the Horde has won their trust and adopted them into the fold as a powerful nation in their own right. Incredibly versatile in their vocations, Zandalari can fulfill the role of every original race in Warcraft including Monks and yes, Paladins. Their racials are incredibly diverse, containing both a short-term heal over time ability and a glide-on-demand button. Their racial mount will be the Zandalari Triceratops seen throughout their conception in the Warcraft universe.

Won over by the Daughter of the Sea, the Kul Tirans join the Alliance as a powerful naval nation that can singlehandedly reconstitute the Alliance fleet. While diverse as Humans are, the Kul Tirans are far more limited than their northern landlocked cousins; adventuring Kul Tirans can be Hunters, Warriors, Priests, Rogues, Monks, Shamans and most notably, Druids. Their racial abilities are more combat based than the Zandalari, featuring increased versatility and resistances along with a stunning knock-back that will undoubtedly see nerfs in the PvE scene. The Kul Tiran racial mount will of course be another horse, but far more armored and heavily enraptured in Kul Tiran culture.

8.1.5 will also contain updates to several major holidays including the Darkmoon Faire, particularly featuring the Gryvern rollercoaster. Children’s Week will also feature updates to its systems, including quests for the newest allied races, with promises of forthcoming updates to other holiday events. New micro-holidays are also planned to be introduced, including the Pandaren Wanderer’s Festival, Vash’jir Reef Diving, and more. Timewalking will also introduce the greater dungeons of Warlords of Draenor, and the Everbloom, introducing two new faction-based Timewalking mounts.

Professions are also receiving new questlines for their epic Tools of the Trade, epic items that can impart unique effects onto your playstyle, equipment and rewards. The Brawler’s Guild is also receiving a similar questline to explore the seedier aspects of the Brawler’s Guild, investigating the murder of members of the guild for unique transmogs and mounts.

Battlegrounds have also been promised to be remastered for 8.1.5, with the first two being Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin. Two of the original instanced battlegrounds introduced in 1.2, these are some of the oldest mainstays of content that players still enjoy, especially in the Rated Battleground seasons. Looking at the potential improvements, Shwayder discussed the difficulty in both updating the visuals while keeping the battlegrounds balanced as they were before. I personally hope that this remaster comes forward to Alterac Valley, one of Azeroth’s more unsymmetrical battlegrounds where factions can often consistently manipulate terrain to farm players for excessive periods of time.

Building upon the AI developed for Island Expeditions, Arathi Comp Stomp is a new Brawl coming in 8.2.5 where teams can face off against an entirely computer team in Arathi Basin.

Jeremy Feasel, Senior Game Designer, took the stage shortly after this announcement to discuss Patch 8.2, where the Naga begin their own war upon the Horde and the Alliance. Knocked on their heels from the Battle of Dazar’alor, the factions can only send skeleton crews of heroes to the Great Blue Beyond, where a crack lays in the heart of the sea. There is Nazjatar, the home of the Naga Empire and the seat of Azshara’s power. The Rise Of Azshara will see a brand new continent arise in Battle for Azeroth, one that threatens the tenuous power structures of the Horde and Alliance. There heroes must lay siege to Azshara’s seat of power lest her forces dare to swallow the world. Heroes of the Horde and the Alliance will unite with beleaguered survivors of her reign to upset the balance of power and unseat the Naga Queen.

Rise of Azshara

Azshara’s Eternal Palace will be the main-line raid for The Rise of Azshara, featuring 8 bosses (with a threatened underwater boss) culminating in a fight with the Queen of the Naga herself. The focus of the patch aside from its raid will be repeatable world-content, in the same vein of Suramar and Argus. However, the Naga are not the only focus of Rise, instead revealing an adventure of minimally maximum proportions.

Rediscovered by the Gnomes and Goblins, Mechagon is an ancient heritage land of the Gnomish people. King Mechagon, the ruler of the land, has built an aristocracy based on how machine you truly are while slaying the other, less mechanical gnomes of the land., and will feature heroes helping the lowliest members of the society upset the balance and restore a utopian paradise to this dystopian wasteland. Mechagon will also feature an 8 boss, mythic only dungeon for players to delve into and claim elite rewards from.

New heritage armor was revealed for the Tauren and Gnomes, both of which are just absolutely lovely to wonder at, as well as additional Island Expeditions. Crestfall returns from its Warcraft 2 routes for the Expedition sequences, where players can explore the fallout of the ancient war. Additionally, Snowblossom is a small Pandaren village beset on all sides from the vicious Vermin. These will join additional rewards at the promised Seafarer Doubloons vendor, who will make his appearance in Tides of Vengeance.

Warfronts will also develop a new Heroic level of difficulty, featuring new siege mechanics and new commanders with the threat of losing. These will be for premade 10+ player groups and will require rewards. A new arena will appear in Mechagon, as well as the start of Battle for Azeroth Season 3 and the introduction of flying with the promise of bumblebee mounts.

And of course, finally, we have the promised updates to the Worgen and Goblin models.

It’s 2018 people. We’ve updated the models, and crab mounts walk sideways. This, in my opinion, may be the strongest World of Wacraft panel to date. I cannot wait for Tides of Vengeance, let alone The Rise of Azshara.

 

 

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More Details on Diablo Immortal Revealed

This weekend Blizzard announced Diablo Immortal, a mobile Diablo game. If you somehow missed this announcement the biggest news is the fan reaction. Booing the game at the announcement was only the beginning of the trouble. Lost in the drama around the announcement, however, were any real details about the game. Our friend Cinderboy over at MMOCulture managed to dig up a few interviews with Chinese media that have shed some light on the upcoming game.

First, most of the technical parts of the game were done by NetEase, this includes the use of their in-house Messiah game engine. Messiah has been used on games like Knives Out which is currently one of the top mobile games in the world. Messiah supports technologies such as Physically-based Rendering (PBR), Normal mapping, GPU Particle, Real-time lighting and more, drastically lowering the number of game details lost while playing. Meaning the game looks good. Because it is on mobile though, the game’s color palette won’t be as dark as Diablo fans are used to.

At the moment the development team are focusing on improving the quality of the game so they aren’t yet ready to look into other potential features like guilds, PvP, transmorg, and an auction house.

NetEase hasn’t decided yet if Android and iOS players will be on the same server or separate ones.

They’ve also said that the business model is not set in stone yet.

So while the announcement trailer said that the game would be coming soon it doesn’t look like it actually is going to be very soon at all. Following all the backlash that the game got during Blizzcon, it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise if more development time was given to the game.

Now that tempers have settled some many fans are pointing out that this seems like a game that is made more for casuals and Eastern audiences. There is a common perception that mobile games are casual, but thanks to advances in technology that isn’t the case at all. Is it possible that Blizzard had the East in mind when they teamed up with NetEase? Absolutely. The audience there is massive and mobile is king. To quote a friend, the whole Diablo Immortal situation feels like a case of mismanaged expectations.

But at least now we know a little more about the game.

 

Source: MMOCulture

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Diablo Immortal: Mobile’s Demonic Destroyer

BlizzCon 2018 has hit the ground running this year, with its opening ceremony absolutely devastating onlookers with a slew of announcements across the board. Heading the convention was a slew of massive announcements for every single one of the major brands including Diablo. Heading the mainline stage Wyatt Cheng, the lead designer for the Diablo Series, unveiled the newest and most demonic edition of the franchise yet. Following the devastating conclusion of Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction and the corruption of the World Stone, Blizzard has now set the stage for Diablo Immortal. Entering the mobile marketplace for its first gaming release, Diablo Immortal is intended to be a mobile exclusive Action-RPG, covering the twenty-year gap between Lord of Destruction and Diablo 3.

The game will feature six hero classes at launch including: the Necromancer, Barbarian, Wizard, Monk, Crusader, and the newly established Demon Hunter order. Intended to possess the same MMO functionality found across the franchise, Diablo Immortal will also feature massive co-op gameplay throughout its dungeons, allowing up to six players to join up at any time. The game is being co-developed by Chinese internet titan NetEase, a company that is certainly no stranger to Blizzard’s products. In the past they’ve covered both the open beta distribution for Diablo 3, as well as development for Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm and handling the distribution for numerous other games including World of Warcraft’s relaunch in 2009 and several world sites for Hearthstone.

Picking up 5 years after Lord of Destruction, Immortal is intended to answer those questions left unanswered after the destruction of the World Stone. Following the scattering of the World Stone’s corrupted remnants, players will have 8 playable zones available at launch, with promises of additional content post-launch.

At the What’s Next panel for Diablo, the senior development team behind Immortal previewed several of the new zones; the twisted remains of the Bilefen, a newer jungle-grown marshland that has seen darkness take route with the shards of the World Stone. Players will also return to the Frozen Tundra, the homeland of the Barbarians with promises that the land has become even harsher with Bael’s corruption. Zoltun Kulle’s Library returns for Immortal from Diablo 3. This particular lair birthed deep in the heart of the desert like a “magical hoarder” as the panel described. They then demoed the persistent player world to be found in Immortal, displaying the shared-outdoor zones players will find; using famous Warcraft enemy Hogger as an analogy, they described how players may happen upon each other as they play, battling monsters together for greater loot and rewards than one could find playing solo otherwise.

Jumping off from that, Immortal will also feature the same style of instanced randomly-generated dungeon the Diablo series is known for, with distinctly greater challenges than one could find in the open world. Opening up with the Kikuras Rapids found deep in the heart of the Bilefen, the Rapids are home to some of the most vicious fetish-monsters of the zone. As players avoid having, “swords donated to them, pointy end first,” they’ll also be sailing down river in a similar manner to famous Hollywood film, Apocalypse Now, bound to a dingy raft that slowly begins to float players along to either great rewards, or potential doom over the edge of a waterfall. Changing tone entirely the panel then revealed the Tomb of Fahir, a silent desert ruin drawing more on the aesthetics the series is known for. This was quickly followed by the Forgotten Tower, an ancient sanctuary now overrun with cultists of every caliber undergoing dark rituals for their demonic lords. The panel then revealed Westmarch, Immortal’s capital city in its golden age of existence but didn’t demo any concept art or in-game work.

Continuing onward, Blizzard then demoed the launch classes which all appear to contain not only the main design concepts inherit to each class from its parent game, but hosts of new moves and abilities to make each feel remarkably distinct. Panelists then went on to talk about how future classes are being planned for post-launch, intending for Immortal to be live-updated in a similar manner to how Diablo 3 was up until the last few seasons, teasing both the Witch Doctor and Assassin classes while maintaining that the community will have the greatest say in which Classes meet release.

Control for Immortal is rather standard for how most mobile devices handle, featuring a virtual control stick in the bottom left corner of the play-screen. The user interface now also includes the various button abilities found traditionally on the controller. Movement and aiming finally come into harmony in Immortal, generating a second control stick after ability activation to determine target. Immortal will also feature an Intuitive Aiming mechanic, allowing the computer to generate relevant targets for ability usage. This will essentially allow users to point and click where necessary, while still maintaining control of their abilities. Immortal is intended to be more social-heavy than previous Battle.net games, integrated from day one with the social platform so players may engage across games.

In the Q+A period Blizzard would later confirm, much to the crowd’s displeasure, that Immortal would exclusively be developed for Android and iOS systems with no future plan for PC or console development. I, for one, am actually looking forward to an exclusively mobile game; after picking up Reaper of Souls for my Playstation 4 several years ago, I still haven’t gotten past Tristram simply for not having the time. I fully intend on picking up Diablo 3 for my Nintendo Switch for the promise of portability, as that’s where I can make the best use of my dungeon delving time effectively.

Players also inquired into Hardcore mode’s potential return to Immortal and was sadly disappointed. Citing issues with mobile connectivity, Blizzard currently does not seem to have plans on pursuing a traditional version of Hardcore but instead wants to carry those principles into other areas. Cheng briefly talked about a potential system reminiscent of Warcraft’s Mythic Dungeons.

Ultimately we’ll see more of Diablo Immortal hitting the BlizzCon stage later this weekend, but for now I am thoroughly impressed. All-in-all Immortal looks at first glance to be a refreshing take on the franchise on technology finally best-suited for it. While some players may be incredibly bitter about a mobile-exclusive release, with one questioner asking, “Is this some off-season April Fool’s Joke?” I for one look forward to Immortal. While I do think it could potentially succeed better on the Switch and PC, one cannot deny that Blizzard is reaching for a more viable and successful long term market. However with a slew of ARPGs already saturating the mobile marketplace, and the mass negative reaction from attendees at BlizzCon its clear that Blizzard will need to bank on more than just nostalgia to make Immortal perform well in the long-run.

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Play of the Fortnight: Overwatch Hero 29 Incoming at BlizzCon 2018

BlizzCon 2018 is just around the corner, so it’s time for us to speculate on what Blizzard might be announcing this year. It’s pretty certain we’ll be seeing Overwatch hero 29 announced officially at BlizzCon. What could Blizzard have up its sleeves for Overwatch this year?

 

Why we think there will be a new hero announcement

Blizzard has a long-standing tradition of going big when it comes to BlizzCon. They’ve also confirmed two new heroes in the past two years. First, we saw the long-awaited conclusion to the Sombra ARG with her official announcement back at BlizzCon 2016. Last year, we saw Moira enter the roster.

They’ve also been pretty good about sticking to a new hero every three months. Wrecking Ball arrived in July this year, so we’re about due a new hero announcement and release.

 

The Route 66 Payload

Overwatch Hero 29 - Route 66 Payload

The payload on Route 66 has also mysteriously changed on the PTR. Specifically, the payload has been cracked open, and whatever is inside is gone. Blizzard is definitely hinting at something, though whether it’s a new hero or something else remains to be seen.

It would make sense for this to be heralding a new hero release. We saw the attacking spawn in Numbani cracked and splintered before Doomfist’s official release. Blizzard could certainly be giving us a hint at not only an impending release, but also who it could be. However, it’s possible that this is linked to an upcoming animated short.

Additionally, McCree features pretty strongly in the BlizzCon announcement images, and Route 66 is associated really strongly with him and his back story. Could we see a new McCree animated short?

 

A Deeper Look at the Payload

The payload contained something before it was cracked open. Now the front portion is missing, and we have blue, frosty mist trickling out the front, implying it’s a cooler unit of some sort. However, what’s particularly interesting is something that YouTuber Master Ian Gamer noticed. The top of the payload has a striking resemblance to the top of D.Va’s mech. Specifically, the part where we know her reactor is housed, and how her ultimate works.

Overwatch Hero 29 - D.Va's Mech

While none of this gives much away, these realizations do point towards the payload change being related to something other than the new hero. Unless, of course, the hero is in some way similar to D.Va.

 

Who could the new hero be?

There’s been plenty of speculation among the community. If we are getting a new hero at BlizzCon 2018, there are a few options. However, one big one that players are looking at is the Queen of Junkertown. First of all, we’ve been thinking she’d be coming for some time now. We mentioned her previously in our BlizzCon 2017 article, along with Liao, Hammond, and Brigitte. Both Hammond and Brigitte have arrived already.

Overwatch Hero 29 - Queen of Junkertown

The biggest hint that it could be the Queen is that we see her briefly in the announcement video for Wrecking Ball. Blizzard loves to dot little references to upcoming heroes in other videos, so her appearance here may not be just a coincidence. On top of that, lead designer Geoff Goodman asked at SDCC 2018 what players would like to see, and mentioned a female hero. She could possibly be a tank or a damage dealer, but with Wrecking Ball’s release it’d be safe to assume she’ll go on the Offense roster.

Overwatch Hero 29 - Liao

There’s also Liao, whom we know very little about. She shows up in First Strike, a graphic novel that ended up being cancelled. Apparently, it was cancelled as Blizzard decided to take the story in another direction. However, right in the front of the cover, we see Liao. We don’t know anything about her, except that she seems to be a part of the early Overwatch team along with Ana, Reinhardt, Reaper, Torbjorn, and Soldier-76.

 

Closing Thoughts

One thing is certain: we will be seeing hero 29 announced at BlizzCon 2018. However, no one is completely sure who it will be. Our bet is on the Queen of Junkertown, but there are plenty of other options being discussed in the community right now.

Either way, we only have to wait until next week. BlizzCon 2018 starts on November 2nd. You can find all the info here on their website, along with a map and complete schedule.

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Blizzard Discusses what to Expect from the WoW Classic Demo

As BlizzCon inches ever closer, there’s a sect of World of Warcraft players hungry for the halcyon days of the game’s earlier life. In a brief rundown from a blog post, those fans are getting some initial details on the WoW Classic demo content they’ll be able to get their hands on when the demo goes live.

wow classic demo content

The playable demo will focus on outdoor questing and will start players at level 15. The demo will feature two zones familiar to fans of the MMORPG: Westfall for the Alliance side and the Barrens for the Horde. All of the familiar zone quest quirks are said to be making a return, such as low beak drop rates for Ornery Plainstriders or the Harvest Golems being resistant to some of your abilities.

What won’t be available in the demo, however, are the Deadmines and Wailing Caverns dungeons. PvP will also be limited to only dueling, and as one would perhaps expect, the two zones offered in the demo will be the only ones available.

While WoW Classic will mostly be the throwback those fans crave, there will be a variety of more modern features still available in the demo, such as colorblind mode, right-click reporting features, zero tolerance for bots and cheaters, and support for widescreen monitors.

Our Thoughts

Well, we continue to hope that this demo of WoW Classic won’t end up being a monkey’s paw for fans of the MMORPG and that the demo sates whatever hunger classic fans have. It will definitely be interesting to see how fans react to this demo version of the game.

Source: official site

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Blizzard Tries to Tamp Down Expectations for Diablo’s BlizzCon

The excitement over what Diablo at BlizzCon is lining up definitely has stirred up, with help from a couple of teases to be sure. However, it would appear that the devs are trying to fling a little bit of cold water on that hype and temper expectations.

diablo at blizzcon

In a quick post on the game’s official site, the Diablo devs told fans to perhaps not expect everything at BlizzCon to be full of the reveals they’re hoping:

“These are very exciting times—we currently have multiple teams working on different Diablo projects and we can’t wait to tell you all about them . . . when the time is right. We know what many of you are hoping for and we can only say that ‘good things come to those who wait,; but evil things often take longer.”

The post does make a direct mention of the game’s arrival to Nintendo Switch, which will officially release on November 2nd to the system, so the game’s time on the main stage will certainly have some focus on that.

That said, the post also mentions that fans will get something new from this year’s event, saying “While we won’t be ready to announce all of our projects, we do intend to share some Diablo-related news with you at the show.”

Our Thoughts

So Diablo 4 this will not be. All things considered, it’s good that Blizzard stepped forward and tried to talk people down a bit, but somehow we also can’t really say for certain that people won’t be let down or upset regardless of this forewarning. Also, they did claim that their marketing wasn’t clever but ended up being exactly that once before, so who knows.

Source: official site

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Diablo: Reign of Terror Teased by Blizzard Gear Store

Cat out of the bag? Another clever bit of marketing like the Diablo light switch teaser? Complete and utter mistake? In any case, fans are intrigued by a new Diablo: Reign of Terror teaser posted on – of all places – Blizzard’s own storefront.

diablo: reign of terror teaser

The BlizzCon section of the Blizzard Gear merch store has a number of exclusive items for Virtual Ticket holders, which is pretty par for the course. What’s new is that there are a number of new items – t-shirts and a poster specifically – that bear Diablo: Reign of Terror branding.

This new game shovels more coal into the Diablo 4 rumor engine, with other speculation spawned by job listings made by Blizzard over the past couple of years.

With three weeks to go before the start of BlizzCon and Diablo getting first billing during the opening keynotes, something entirely new set in the Diablo universe is looking even more likely than ever. Of course, what sort of new thing is up to the imagination.

Our Thoughts

if you hear what sounds like the rumbling of thousands of hooves, that’s the speculation running rampant. “Reign of Terror” doesn’t give us a huge clue, but the mind most definitely wanders. What kind of new Diablo thing would you want to see?

Source: Blizzard Gear Store via ResetEra

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Here’s the BlizzCon 2018 Schedule

An event the length, breadth and depth of BlizzCon would be nothing without a series of ordered dates and times for panels, reveals and more – it’d just be a morass of under-showered fans. So to keep everyone in line, the BlizzCon 2018 schedule has been shared. Can’t do anything about the lack of showering, though. Seriously, con-goers, wash yourselves.

blizzcon 2018 schedule

The first four days between October 25-29 will once again be dedicated to esports events, with group stages and opening rounds for the Heroes of the Storm HGC Finals, the StarCraft II WCS Global Finals and the World of Warcraft Arena World Championship.

Starting Friday, November 2nd, we’re getting the “What’s Next” panels to kick things off starting at 12:30pm PDT/3:30pm EDT with Diablo, then Overwatch, Hearthstone, HotS and World of Warcraft respectively. There will also be a number of panels for most of the games in question as well as continued competition on the esports side.

On Saturday, November 3rd, another series of panels will kick off including the StarCraft II What’s Next, a Heroes of the Storm “Deep Dive”, a panel with the Overwatch devs detailing how they create a new hero, and Q&A sessions for World of Warcraft and Diablo.

The complete schedule of events can be found right here.

Our Thoughts

There’s certainly a lot to look forward to, but what’s most interesting is that Diablo has two panels this year, which is a change from last year where the game didn’t have a presence. Clearly, there’s more to talk about on the Diablo front, and hopefully it won’t just be on the Switch port…

Source: official site

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WoW Classic to be Playable for BlizzCon Attendees and Virtual Ticket Holders

In a first for the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket offerings, a playable World of Warcraft Classic demo will not only be available to folks attending the event itself, but will also be accessible to people who are Virtual Ticket holders. As in you’ll get to play the demo from the comfort of your own home. No pants necessary.

world of warcraft classic demo

Shortly after the opening ceremony on November 2nd, fans can download the WoW Classic demo and play the game for themselves. The demo will showcase a limited questing experience through some of the MMO’s early zones – one on the Horde side and one on the Alliance side.

There’s a limited length of time for this World of Warcraft Classic demo, however: specifically, you can get your hit of nostalgia until Thursday, November 8th at 10am PST/1pm EDT.

In addition to this announcement, there’s also been a reveal of the in-game goodies WoW fans are getting with the Virtual Ticket: a pair of mantles and war banners done up in either the design of the Horde or the Alliance, which can be seen in this video.

Speaking of video, game director Ion Hazzikostas and executive producer J. Allen Brack have a few words about World of Warcraft and the Virtual Ticket. That video is embedded for you below.

Our Thoughts

Consider us extremely surprised. Not only is World of Warcraft Classic in something of a playable state, it’s actually accessible to those with a Virtual Ticket. We actually really hope this sort of Virtual Ticket feature gets extended to other games in the Blizzard stable, if not for this year’s BlizzCon then next year’s.

Source: official site

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