Tag - blizzard entertainment

Blackrock Mountain Coming to Hearthstone

hearthstone-2892

BOSTON, MA.—March 6, 2015Blizzard Entertainment revealed today what’s in the cards for Hearthstone®: Heroes of Warcraft —an all-new Adventure that will challenge brave duelists to venture forth from the comfort of the tavern and plunge into the depths of Blackrock Mountain! The newest addition to Hearthstone’s Adventure Mode will introduce a slew of new hot-headed bosses to put players’ dueling skills to the test.

The Blackrock Mountain Adventure thrusts Hearthstone players into the middle of a war between powerful forces battling for control of the mountain. There, duelists will encounter fierce minions, including Dark Iron dwarves, fire elementals, and dragons, before facing off against iconic menaces from theWarcraft® universe, such as Ragnaros, the Firelord. Card-slingers who take down these villains will reap a mighty reward—31 scorching new cards inspired by the legendary mountain and its denizens, bringing a wealth of new tactical options to the ever-evolving Hearthstone metagame.

Coming this April to PC, Windows and Android tablets, and iPad®, Blackrock Mountain will open up one wing per week over the course of a month. As with the game’s first Adventure, Curse of Naxxramas, it will be accessible for either 700 in-game gold per wing or $6.99 per wing, with the entire Adventure purchasable for $24.99. Further details, including specific launch timing, will be announced in the weeks ahead. Preorders (real money only) for Blackrock Mountain will be available starting March 19, and will include an exclusive card back to those duelists ready to take on what lies within the mountain when it opens.

To read up on all things Blackrock Mountain, visit www.playhearthstone.com.

The Lost Vikings Invade Heroes of the Storm

Blizzcon14_Heroes_SkyTemple_VikingsFight.0

Blizzard Entertainment has announced that characters from their classic The Lost Vikings have made their way into MOBA title, Heroes of the Storm. Check out the introduction trailer and hero tips below!

THE LOST VIKINGS

LOST VIKINGS HERO DETAILS

  • Basic Abilities

o   The Lost Vikings’ Basic Abilities must be unlocked through Talent Selection.

o   Spin to Win! (Q)

  • Deals damage around each Viking.
  • Can be unlocked at Level 4 by learning the Spin to Win! Talent

o   Jump! (W)

  • All Vikings become temporarily Invulnerable.
  • Can be unlocked at Level 7 by learning the Jump! Talent

o   Norse Force! (E)

  • All Vikings temporarily gain a Shield.
  • Can be unlocked at Level 16 by learning the Norse Force! Talent
  • Mount

o   Go Go Go! (Z)

  • The Vikings gain increased Movement Speed for a few seconds.
  • Trait

o   Fast Restart

  • Death time is reduced for The Lost Vikings.
  • Heroic Abilities

o   Play Again! (R)

  • All Vikings are revived and teleported to the summoning Viking.

o   Longboat Raid! (R)

  • Summon a Longboat and go on a Viking Raid!

LOST VIKINGS BATTLEGROUND TIPS

  • The Lost Vikings start without any basic abilities and function differently. You can choose to unlock extra abilities by selecting various Talents throughout the duration of the match.
  • Olaf – Has lots of Health, regenerates Health quickly, and charges to Slow enemies.
  • Baleog – Deals splash damage to enemies behind his attack target.
  • Erik – Moves faster than the other Vikings and has a longer attack range.
  • Each Viking can move, attack, and be killed separately. They will also receive individual respawn timers upon their deaths.
  • Use the activated Talent hotkeys “1”, “2”, and “3” to select and control the Vikings individually, or press the “4” key to guide them as a group.
  • When using the heroic “Longboat Raid!” [R], all of the Vikings need to be near each other to perform the action.
  • When grouped, the Vikings can break the chests on Blackheart’s Bay very quickly.

Heroes of the Storm Enters Closed Beta Testing

heroes-16

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

wow-chronicle-vol-1-not-final

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

Warlords-of-Draenor-Wallpaper

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.

World-of-Warcraft-Warlords-of-Draenor-Faction-Zones-Trailer_1

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.

Shadowmoon_Valley_Temple_of_Karabor_AD_026

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.

[easyreview title=”World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor Review Score” cat1title=”Overall Score (out of 5)” cat1detail=”” cat1rating=”4″ ]

Blizzard Ceases Development of Next-Gen MMO Titan

Blizzard_Entertainment_Logo.svg

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

hearthstone-cards

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

star-citizen-hangar2

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.