World of Warcraft Is Going Down The Draenor

Apologies for the post title but I just couldn’t resist. With BlizzCon 2013 underway, the announcement has been made about World of Warcraft’s next expansion. Titled Warlords of Draenor, , we get seven new zones on a new planet (Draenor), an increase in the level cap to 100, the ability to start a character at Level 90, player Garrisons and some world PvP options that sound interesting. Not surprisingly there’s no firm release date as yet.

Here’s the announcement trailer:

I’ve been a very irregular player of WoW over the past few months, but nothing gets me back into the game quicker than an expansion, and I have to say I like the look of this one. Here’s what’s got me particularly intrigued:

1. The ability to have your own garrison populated by NPCs picked up via questing could make the game in a big way, assuming there’s decent levels of customisation available. I love how this is a nod to the original Warcraft games and I’m hopeful that this will be a focus of further development. If there can be pet battles, there can be some retro Warcraft scenarios / quests surely?

2. As a player than actually likes levelling, I’m encouraged by the level cap increase that’s twice the increase of Mists of Pandaria. Sure, that doesn’t mean there’s necessarily twice the levelling content, but I’m going to remain optimistic.

3. The new character models and veiled references to graphics engine improvements have me excited as well. No-one is going to argue WoW is anywhere near being a graphically cutting edge game, but ongoing improvements at least stop the gap widening.

Most importantly, we want to hear from you – has the expansion announcement caught your attention? Check out our poll on the right hand side of the page and take part if you can. We’ll also be talking everything Warlords of Draenor on tomorrow night’s podcast.

Blizzard Start TV Spots for Mists of Pandaria

Blizzard in the US have started promoting the upcoming expansion on TV, with two different advertisements taken from the first cinematic released a bit over a week ago.

Here are the two ads:

For the avid and active WoW player there’s not much in there to get excited about, but we’re obviously not the audience. I also think it might have been good to show a second or two of actual gameplay.

What do you think?

WoW Remote Auction House And Guild Chat Now Free

Blizzard Software have come to the party with their Mobile Armory app, now offering the remote guild chat and auction house for free.

It’s available for Android and iOS, with the following features:

Full Character Profiles

3D Viewer
Activity Feed
Achievements
Character Stats

Remote Auction House

Browse Auctions
Create Auctions
Bid on Items
Claim Your Gold

Remote Guild Chat

Guild & Officers Channels
Saved Whisper Conversations
Guildmate Presence
Chat Push Notifications

Other Features

Guild Profiles
Realm Status
Talent Calculator
Item Browser

So if you want to constantly check how your Hogger Shanks are doing on the auction house, you’re now set.

Thanks to ever-faithful reader Gail for the heads-up!

Blizzard Gamers: Change Your Password

In case you hadn’t heard, Blizzard has had a security breach:

Players and Friends,

Even when you are in the business of fun, not every week ends up being fun. This week, our security team found an unauthorized and illegal access into our internal network here at Blizzard. We quickly took steps to close off this access and began working with law enforcement and security experts to investigate what happened.

At this time, we’ve found no evidence that financial information such as credit cards, billing addresses, or real names were compromised. Our investigation is ongoing, but so far nothing suggests that these pieces of information have been accessed.

Some data was illegally accessed, including a list of email addresses for global Battle.net users, outside of China. For players on North American servers (which generally includes players from North America, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia) the answer to the personal security question, and information relating to Mobile and Dial-In Authenticators were also accessed. Based on what we currently know, this information alone is NOT enough for anyone to gain access to Battle.net accounts.

We also know that cryptographically scrambled versions of Battle.net passwords (not actual passwords) for players on North American servers were taken. We use Secure Remote Password protocol (SRP) to protect these passwords, which is designed to make it extremely difficult to extract the actual password, and also means that each password would have to be deciphered individually. As a precaution, however, we recommend that players on North American servers change their password. Please click this link to change your password. Moreover, if you have used the same or similar passwords for other purposes, you may want to consider changing those passwords as well.

In the coming days, we’ll be prompting players on North American servers to change their secret questions and answers through an automated process. Additionally, we’ll prompt mobile authenticator users to update their authenticator software. As a reminder, phishing emails will ask you for password or login information. Blizzard Entertainment emails will never ask for your password. We deeply regret the inconvenience to all of you and understand you may have questions. Please find additional information here.

We take the security of your personal information very seriously, and we are truly sorry that this has happened.

Sincerely,
Mike Morhaime

 

So although it seems the risk is low, if you play WoW, D3, Starcraft 2 etc, get those password changes happening….

 

[via numerous sources – thanks for the emails / tweets etc!]

Through The Mist: A Tour Of The Wandering Isles

Through the Mist is a regular column from Luke Le Page covering everything World of Warcraft. If you’d like something covered in a future column, drop us a line!

This week I will be taking a look at the Wandering Isles, the new starting zone for the Pandaren and the Pandaren in general. The zone offers us a new introductory cut scene, which I will not describe so that you may enjoy it on launch night.  Suffice to say that this zone known as the Wandering Isle has begun to move erratically and it is up to you as an adventurous and gifted Pandaren to discover the reason for this.

The Pandaren are World of Warcraft’s first neutral race and as such the starting area is quite serene with some amazing new scenery. The entire zone has a strong Chinese feel to it as one would expect given the lore behind the race. Due to its neutrality, the starting zone does not have mailboxes, meaning that until the area is complete players cannot use their BoA items or send bags and supplies to their new Pandarens. This has been the focus of a lot of discussion in the beta but overall it has proven to be a sensible decision on behalf of Blizzard. The zone is rich in lore and the visuals are absolutely stunning and there is no surprise that Blizzard want players to be immersed in every aspect of the Wandering Isles.

Last week I described the Pandaren as bobbly and I stand by this description. To me it feels similar to the bobbing motion that a character has when they are riding a Raptor mount. In a way it suits the physics of the race but personally I find it distracting.

There are a number of interesting racials for the Pandarens to enjoy and these include:

Epicurean: Your love of food allows you to receive double the stats from Well Fed effects.
Inner Peace:  Your rested experience bonus lasts twice as long.
Bouncy: You take 50% less falling damage.
Quaking Palm: Strikes the target with lightning speed, incapacitating them for 4 seconds.

Onto a tour of The Wandering Isles:

Starting area

The first few quests follow along the lines of those that were introduced with Cataclysm and focus on teaching new players how to equip items and use their abilities.

While this is somewhat annoying as a seasoned player, it is brief enough to be tolerable knowing that it will help new players to the game learn their characters.

Quests

Next up is a handful of quests where the player is trailed by Master Shang Xi as they attempt to complete their training. This series of quests also introduces us to a new protagonist the Hozen who we will also meet in the higher level zones to be previewed later.

The Hozen have some nifty little attacks such as the ability to jump on the players head (similar to the Kobolds) in ToGC.

Hozen

We continue along these lines until we reawaken the spirit of fire, upon completion of this quest we learn that Shen-zin Su is in pain. While there is little hint as to what or who Shen-zin Su is, we are whisked off to awaken the remaining elemental spirits, whose absences are being felt to varying degrees across the Wandering Isle, in order to communicate with it.

The quest line follows this approach, with various side quests that have us dealing with the Hozen, until we have gathered the four ancient spirits together. After this we learn that Shen-zin Su is an enormous turtle and the Wandering Isle is affixed firmly to his shell and the might creature is in pain due to a thorn in his side.

Shen-zin Su

We are now sent to investigate this injury to learn that an alliance airship has crashed into his side. This is the first time the Pandaren are exposed to the battling factions of the Alliance and the Horde.

After completing a series of quests for both factions and finally healing Shen-zin Su with their assistance, we return to the spirit of Master Shang Xi where you are required to select a faction. After selecting the Horde I was teleported to Orgrimmar where Garrosh Hellscream gave me a fairly cold welcome and put me through a quest that sets the tone of the expansion.

Summary

The Wandering Isles was an interesting zone, I was just shy of level 12 upon completion of the quest for Garrosh Hellscream and I feel that the levelling was well timed. I never felt too strong for my opponents or too weak and I am glad that BoA’s are not allowed in the area. The zone itself was visually stunning and the quests combined with the environment reinforced the sense of discipline and lore of the Pandaren race and Monk class. There is a fair amount of walking involved in this new area which in future may become annoying for now it allowed me to enjoy the aesthetics of the zone.

A History Of The Pandaren

I just came across this video that does a superb job of summarising the history of the Pandaren. If you want a lore injection before you jump into Mists of Pandaria in September, then this is probably a great place to start. Enjoy!