Tag - blizzard entertainment

Heroes of the Storm Enters Closed Beta Testing

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January 13, 2015 — Let the brawl begin! We’re excited to announce that closed beta testing has officially begun in the Americas region for Heroes of the Storm™, our free-to-play, online team brawler featuring iconic heroes from more than 20 years of Blizzard gaming history.

Today’s launch brings a new Battleground, a new Hero, Ranked Play, and much, much more. The closed beta test is expected to launch in all other regions on January 14. Players can opt-in for a chance to join the beta test at www.HeroesoftheStorm.com or through the Beta Profile Settings page in Battle.net®account management.

The latest features introduced to Heroes of the Storm include:

  • New Battleground—Sky Temple, a new desert-themed Battleground, challenges players to fight for control of ancient Temples. Once captured, these Temples fire devastating beams of energy toward enemy structures.
  • New Hero—Thrall, Warchief of the Horde, is the newest melee assassin to join the Nexus, bringing fearsome abilities, including Chain Lightning, Windfury, and Earthquake.
  • Hero League—This new Ranked Play mode enables players (who are level 30 and own at least 10 Heroes) to queue up alone or in a party of up to five for ranked, competitive matches against other players of similar skill and party size.
  • Draft Mode—Utilize this mode to build a competitive team composition, counter your opponent’s picks, and dominate the Battleground objectives.

A complete list of our latest game updates can be found in this week’s patch notes, as well as in our new Closed Beta Walkthrough Video.

Blizzard and Dark Horse Team Up for WoW Chronicle Books

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MILWAUKIE, OR – Dark Horse Comics is proud to announce a multi-volume series detailing the history of the Warcraft® universe: World of Warcraft®: Chronicle.

World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 is a journey through an age of myth and legend, a time long before the Horde and the Alliance came to be. This definitive tome of Warcraft history reveals untold stories about the birth of the cosmos, the rise of ancient empires, and the forces that shaped the world of Azeroth and its people.

“We often get questions from players who want to know more about the origins of the Warcraft universe, and the rise and fall of their favorite characters” said Paul Sams, chief operating officer of Blizzard Entertainment. “This new series digs deeply into all of that—we can’t wait for players to read it.”

This beautiful hardcover book features over twenty full-page illustrations by World of Warcraft artist Peter Lee and marks the first in a multipart series exploring the Warcraft universe; from the distant past to the modern era.

“This is an amazing project that will be absolutely irresistible to the legion of Warcraft fans. The people at Blizzard have been great to work with and we are extremely happy and proud to be working with them,” added Dark Horse President Mike Richardson.

World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 is on sale November 4, 2015 in comic shops and November 17 in bookstoresPreorder your copy today!

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor Review

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It can be difficult to approach an expansion to a title of such significance as World of Warcraft with an objective eye, given its storied history and ingrained nostalgia. Fond memories of some aspects of the title intermingle with the less interesting moments, and it all becomes a sea of high and low memories that stretch out over the past 10 years. I could let this review devolve into a list of such high and low moments, but this is a review of Warlords of Draenor, and not the content that has come before it. Besides, at this point in time it is clear that everyone involved with the World of Warcraft MMO has strong feelings or opinions one way or another based on their own minimal or extensive time with the game.

That being established, let’s take a look at the Warlords of Draenor expansion, and allow me to share my personal thoughts and feelings on its content and presentation with you. I will start by saying that what immediatly grabbed me and piqued my interest was the setting. Returning to what was one of my favorite locations (the Outlands from The Burning Crusade expansion) created a much higher level of interest than any ancient world-shattering dragon or mist-shrouded island could have. Combine that with a return to a more traditional “Orcs vs. Humans” vibe, and an uncharted old version of Draenor ripe for settling and exploring, and they had me. The return to a location from the past that was as beloved as Outlands was (I’m sure) no accident, and even though the time-travel silliness required to achieve this is a bit trite (I am still unsure if I am in the past, or the present but an alternate reality?) I can suspend my requirement for this to make absolute sense and simply enjoy the ride. After all, it worked with Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness…

This expansion begins with your character being summoned to the site of the Dark Portal, as Orcs from Draenor have begun clamoring through the rift into Azeroth yet again (though this time mostly free of Demonic influence). After entering the portal with a strike team of Alliance and Horde figures, a brief introductory series of quests takes place in a phased section of Draenor. After completing this introduction (and stranding your armies in the alternate timescape of Draenor) you join up with the Frostwolf Clan (sorry Alliance players, I roll Horde) and establish a base in their home territory of Frostfire Ridge. From here, you establish a base of operations – a new major feature of the expansion known as your Garrison – and begin to explore the wild regions of Draenor while fortifying your base and growing it as you level towards the new cap of 100.

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Two key moments from this opening sequence left me drawn deeper into the title than I have been for multiple expansions now, and I would be remiss to not point these out before moving on to discuss the broader features and experiences. One of the more interesting things done in this opening to the game is the use of Borderlands-style introductions to all of the villains of the Iron Horde (the united Orc Tribes occupying Draenor). This was done extremely well, and made me look forward to encountering and defeating characters such as Kargath Bladefist, Kilrogg, and Blackhand later in my journeys. The second key moment involved the establishment of your Garrison and subsequent questing to strengthen and grow it. This immediately gave me a more overarching goal to my questing than is typical, and made me want to keep pressing on to expand my base and reach.

My journey from 90 to 100 was filled with moments of awe and wonder. The lush graphics of the zones of Draenor left me constantly swinging my camera around wildly, trying to gain better perspectives on the alien moons and skylines and terrain features. It can be very hard to believe this game is 10 years old when visual fidelity is this polished, and what they lack in pure polygons they more than make up for in detailed touches and beautiful artful color usage. The enhanced character models and animations are also quite well done, and work to make the game feel pretty modern overall. Sound and Music are generally an area that can be difficult to say much about, especially when done well enough to feel seamlessly integrated and “good”. I have to make special mention of the music in this expansion however, as for me it was some of the very best music I have heard from the title. There seemed to be a huge variety of styles, which came and went effortlessly and at appropriate moments throughout. In some places, music from the original Outlands was used, and served to ignite nostalgic feelings in familiar locales (in the way Metroid Prime’s usage of melodies from older Metroid titles was explored). The pure variety of musical styles served to foster and enhance the feeling of this world being remote, uncharted, and alien. Soft quiet tracks and frantic upbeat tracks are used at all the proper moments, and I am transported back to the days of Warcraft 2 and 3.

Do yourself a favor – if you are a gamer that typically turns game music off and replaces it with your own Spotify mixes or Pandora stations instead, just don’t this time around. Crank up that game music, and get yourself a decent pair of headphones – the experience will be well worth it.

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Moving on to the meat of the expansion, we find tried-and-true questing and phasing integrated perfectly into the Garrison experience. The setup scenario of being in this remote land, establishing a base, and then questing to improve your skills as well as the skills of your followers is a superb play experience, and the use of a base from the Warcraft RTS days as a form of “player housing” for this title works exceptionally well. I found myself striving to explore deeper into the lands beyond, to see the sights, conquer the challenges that surely await, and fortify my base of operations. The entire package plays great and feels highly polished (minor bugs, but nothing of any real consequence). Opening day crowds and server issues were quickly resolved (2-3 days of wait times, with a refund of 5 days to all accounts in my experience), and the game has been running well since these issues were abated.

After exploring the various zones and storylines contained within and reaching the new level cap of 100, a sense of sadness that it was over briefly hit me, but was replaced by excitement as I quickly started to realize just how much there was still to explore and do. Level cap this time around serves more as an end to your Garrison training and the start of your domination of the Iron Horde. Areas of various zones filled with cap level mobs and rare spawns serve as a method to acquire gear upgrades, and additional dungeon unlocks allow the player to start to experience the group content of the expansion. A few of the more inspired and interesting dungeons involve riding a fast-moving train, killing enemies as you move between train cars, and a dungeon high in the peaks of Arak, the final boss of which summons birds to attempt to drag you and your companions off the edge and to a grisly death on the rocks below. Your Garrison at this point has become a living breathing entity of its own, with a constant flurry of activity that will have you enjoying micromanaging the events within and the activities your followers take on. With elements of housing and companion systems seen in other MMO titles, though applied with just the right methodologies, Garrisons stand above the rest as a significant technological and entertaining feat.

With little negative to harp on, I will emphasize that while this is an exceptional expansion, sure to get better as raid content and more future content is introduced, it is still World of Warcraft at its core. Those who may have tired of this style of quest-driven gameplay might not be fully hooked, even with the new spin on things. While I believe that The Burning Crusade was the crowning moment in the game’s history, Warlords of Draenor is proving that at 10 years of age, this old dog still has some bite left, and may be yapping around for another decade to come.

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com

Blizzard Ceases Development of Next-Gen MMO Titan

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It looks like the long-rumored, highly-anticipated next-gen MMO project, codenamed “Titan”, being developed by Blizzard Entertainment is no more. According to a story from the folks at Polygon, Blizzard’s Mike Morhaime and Chris Metzen have confirmed that the project has been scrapped after seven years in development.

Morhaime was quoted as saying, “We didn’t find the fun…We didn’t find the passion. We talked about how we put it through a reevaluation period, and actually, what we reevaluated is whether that’s the game we really wanted to be making. The answer is no.”

This is not the first high-profile game to be canned at Blizzard – the best example I can think of at this moment was the highly-anticipated StarCraft Ghost. However, this is possibly the most expensive cancellation the company has endured with a rumored $50 million dollars to date being spent on its development.

GamingShogun.com reached out for an official news release on this subject, but Blizzard Entertainment has opted not to release anything official – presumably because they never officially-announced it as a project to begin with…

You can read the full story over at Polygon.

TeSPA Collegiate Hearthstone Tournament Details

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Blizzard Entertainment has announced a collegiate Hearthstone tournament with qualifiers beginning on August 9th. Check out the tournament link for more information.

Prize: $5,000 in scholarships

Where: The finals will take place at PAX Prime on the Twitch stage

Open to: College students in North America

What Else?

  • The top three players from the finals will secure spots in the BlizzCon World Championships Qualifier
  • We will be streaming the finals, and will also have giveaways to viewers
  • The qualifiers start this Saturday, August 9
  • 8 finalists will be flown to PAX Prime to face off

Alex Mayberry Joins Star Citizen Team

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LOS ANGELES, May 13, 2014 — Game industry veteran, Alex Mayberry, who most recently was lead game producer at Blizzard Entertainment, is leaving that position to take on an executive producer role at Cloud Imperium™ Games (CIG), the makers of the crowd funded space sim, Star Citizen™. Mayberry will be overseeing all product development for Star Citizen and managing CIG’s distributed development process across all production studios (both owned and contracted) including Santa Monica, Austin, Manchester and Montreal. Mayberry will be reporting directly to CIG co-founder and CEO, Chris Roberts and begins his duties immediately.

Mayberry has spent 18 years designing and producing award winning games. His career in the industry began as a level designer at Xatrix Entertainment. After stops at Electronic Arts and Kalisto, Mayberry spent three years as creative director and executive producer of the America’s Army game project. From there he moved to Blizzard as a producer, where he worked on the World of Warcraft (WoW) expansion packs and was lead game producer for Diablo III.

“I don’t think we could have found a better fit than Alex Mayberry for helping me manage Star Citizen’s development,” said Chris Roberts. “Alex brings a wealth of experience in managing very large online games with huge communities, including the biggest of all, World of Warcraft.

“Star Citizen has grown from my crazy dream to one that is shared by more than 400-thousand other crazy dreamers, with new ones joining every day, all united in attempting to build the most ambitious space sim and sandbox game ever. What makes this quest even tougher is that we are committed to do this in a fully open environment, with the ongoing involvement of the community, and sharing portions of the game as it’s developed for feedback while working on the bigger feature set. That means even though we’re a ways out from the full game being finished, we are still in a live environment with an enormous number of users. That brings a whole new set of challenges.

“Alex brings invaluable experience in managing a live game while developing new content, something he did with WoW for Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. After working on those games, he ran the development efforts as lead producer of Diablo III and helped manage a game, already several years in development, across the finish line with rave reviews and acclaim. From there he followed up with the Diablo III expansion, Reaper of Souls.

“As a long-time veteran of Blizzard he has an almost fanatical commitment to quality and playability, which makes him a great fit creatively. He has a sterling reputation in the industry, having helped manage many successful teams and he’ll bring that same kind of winning style to Star Citizen.”

“After 10 years at Blizzard, I didn’t think that there was anything that could ever get me to leave,” said Mayberry. “But then Chris invited me to come check out Star Citizen, and after seeing the game and listening to Chris talk about his vision, I knew that I had to be a part of it. Star Citizen is bold and ambitious, with a unique and innovative approach to game development. I am extremely excited to be joining the talented people at Cloud Imperium Games, and I strongly believe that together, with Chris Robert’s direction and the support of the player community, we will set a new standard for AAA games.”

Star Citizen is a crowd funded game that officially launched on October 10 of 2012. Since that time Roberts’ company has raised more than $43.6 million from backers all over the world making Star Citizen the top ranking crowd funded project ever.

BlizzCon 2014 Announced

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IRVINE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Alert your guilds, clans, houses, and fellowships—Blizzard Entertainment today announced plans for its eighth BlizzCon® gaming convention, taking place Friday, November 7 and Saturday, November 8 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Southern California. Terrans, nephalem, Alliance, and Horde from across the multiverse are invited to join Blizzard for a two-day celebration at the nexus of all things Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo®.

Tickets to BlizzCon will go on sale in two batches, one on May 7 and the other on May 10. In addition, a limited number of tickets to an exclusive pre-BlizzCon dinner to benefit Children’s Hospital of Orange County will go on sale May 14.

“BlizzCon is always the biggest highlight of the year for us,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “With Hearthstone™ and Reaper of Souls™ recently launched and Heroes of the Storm™ and Warlords of Draenor™ gearing up for beta, 2014 is already shaping up to be an epic year for Blizzard gamers. We can’t wait to celebrate and share what we’ve been working on with everyone this November.”

In addition to serving as the gravitational gathering point for Blizzard Entertainment’s gaming communities, BlizzCon will offer attendees a chance to enjoy:

  • Hands-on play time with the latest versions of Blizzard Entertainment games
  • Global finals for Blizzard eSports, including the StarCraft® II World Championship Series Global Finals
  • In-depth discussion panels with Blizzard game developers and artists
  • Competitive and casual tournaments for players to showcase their talents
  • Community contests with great prizes
  • Commemorative merchandise based on Blizzard Entertainment’s game universes
  • More activities and attractions to be announced

Tickets to attend the convention will be priced at $199 USD (plus applicable taxes and fees) each and will be available for purchase from the online event ticketing service Eventbrite via their website (www.blizzcon2014.eventbrite.com) in two separate batches. The first batch goes on sale at 7 p.m. Pacific time on Wednesday, May 7, and the second batch goes on sale at 10 a.m. Pacific time on Saturday, May 10.

Tickets to the BlizzCon Benefit Dinner, which include admission to BlizzCon, will be priced at $750 USD (plus applicable taxes and fees) each, with proceeds going to Children’s Hospital of Orange County (http://www.choc.org) to support their Feeding Therapy Program. Taking place the evening of November 6, this exclusive event offers guests an opportunity to /eat, /drink, and geek out with developers, artists, and other folks from Blizzard before the show—all for a great cause. Approximately 200 tickets to the benefit dinner will be available for purchase beginning 7 p.m. Pacific time on Wednesday, May 14 through www.blizzcon2014.eventbrite.com.

Gamers from the far reaches of Azeroth, the Koprulu sector, and Sanctuary looking to enjoy BlizzCon from the comfort of their own home will once again have the option to order a BlizzCon Virtual Ticket, offering comprehensive live coverage of the event via a multichannel Internet stream. Further details on the Virtual Ticket, including pricing, availability, and programming information, will be announced at a later date.

For further details about BlizzCon 2014, including ticket availability and pricing, visit the official BlizzCon website (www.blizzcon.com). Those interested in attending the show in person can make advance hotel reservations now and receive special BlizzCon rates by booking through the BlizzCon hotel website.

Blizzard Entertainment is currently hiring for numerous open positions. More information on available career opportunities can be found at www.blizzard.com/jobs.

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Announced with Video

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COLOGNE, Germany—August 21, 2013—The defeat of Diablo, Lord of Terror, should have given rise to an age of hope. Instead, it has drawn out a shadowy being of immense power, whose malevolent purpose is yet to be revealed. Announced today at gamescom, Diablo® III: Reaper of Souls™, the upcoming expansion to Diablo III, opens a dark and terrifying new chapter in the ongoing conflict over the mortal realm of Sanctuary.

Malthael, the fallen Archangel of Wisdom, vanished after the events depicted at the end of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction®. In Reaper of Souls, he returns as the Angel of Death and seizes the Black Soulstone, which contains the essence of the Prime Evil. It now falls to the players to track down Malthael and stop him before he unleashes irreversible havoc on the world.

Fortunately, a new hero is ready to join the cause and bring Malthael to justice—the Crusader. Driven by a centuries-long quest to cleanse the corruption blighting their beloved Zakarum faith, Crusaders are warriors of righteousness who have been hardened through relentless, brutal combat with the foul evils plaguing eastern Sanctuary. In addition to wearing immensely heavy armor and wielding a wide range of cruel and punishing weapons, this new playable class in Reaper of Souls uses battle magic to strengthen allies and weaken foes. A natural walking tank, the Crusader adds power and versatility to any party of adventurers.

“From the beginning, Diablo has always been about the struggle between good and evil, and Reaper of Souls explores the darker notes of that conflict,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “This expansion also represents a big milestone in the ongoing evolution of Diablo III, with key enhancements to the core gameplay, along with a new act to experience, a powerful new character class, tons of new loot, and even more end-game options. We think players will love playing Reaper of Souls, and we can’t wait to get it into their hands.”

In addition to taking the story of Diablo III from the legendary city of Westmarch to the unhallowed halls of the Pandemonium Fortress in Act V and introducing the incorruptible Crusader class, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls increases the game’s level cap to 70. Players continuing on with their existing Barbarian, Witch Doctor, Demon Hunter, Wizard, and Monk characters will benefit from an array of fearsome new spells and abilities as they advance in level.

The expansion also accentuates the key features of the Diablo franchise, with a greater emphasis on randomized environments to explore; epic new quests; horrific new monsters to defeat; and substantial updates to the loot experience, enabling players to further customize their characters with new and improved multilevel Legendary items, new Blacksmith and Jeweler item-crafting options, and more.

Diablo III’s Paragon progression system is also being majorly upgraded for the expansion, adding even more end-game character advancement and replayability. Two new game modes—Loot Runs and Nephalem Trials—are being added as well, providing fun and rewarding challenges for players to tackle when they’re not busy saving the world.

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is playable on the show floor at gamescom, and Blizzard will be revealing further details about the expansion at BlizzCon and beyond as development progresses. For further information related to today’s announcement and all the latest news about Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, visit http://www.diablo3.com/reaperofsouls.

With multiple games in development, Blizzard Entertainment has numerous positions currently available—visit http://jobs.blizzard.com for more information and to learn how to apply.

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Opening Cinematic

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Gameplay Teaser