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Beloved Nagrand is featured in the latest Warlords of Draenor Zone Preview!

The latest Warlords of Draenor Zone Preview shows off one of the most anticipated areas of Draenor, Nagrand. During The Burning Crusade many players considered it the most beautiful refuges, even though it was a little broken. Now they get to see it in all its undisturbed glory.

Our latest zone preview takes us into the expansive hills and rocky outcroppings of Nagrand, a verdant land located west of Talador and south of Frostfire Ridge. Here, great beasts cause the ground to quake beneath their feet, and the wolf riders of the Warsong—the legendary orc clan led by Grommash Hellscream himself—are always on the prowl. But they’re not the only ones who make this verdant land their home.

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World of Warcraft Senior Art Director out with injury but delivers a new Artcraft!

Senior Art Director Chris G. Robinson shared the latest World of Warcraft character model update in ArtCraft. It was a very quick update due to Robinson’s injury he sustained while sculpting to his dominant, drawing hand.

But he did share the male draenei model showing off wonderful facial expressions and keeping true to the silhouette of the original model from The Burning Crusade. You can also check out 8 screenshots we took from the WoD alpha.

The original was one of the better character models in the game, so it didn’t require a ton of translation—but with higher-resolution textures and more polygons to work with, we were able to bump up his fidelity quite a bit, as well as improve how we convey emotion through a new animation rig.

We wish Robinson the best as he recovers from his surgery. In the mean time, Artcraft will be in the capable hands of Lead Character Artist Tyson Murphy. The “same face” issue will be addressed, hopefully, in future content with the trolls!

Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas has a gating system, but how much will it cost players?

Once buried deep in the arctic lands of Northrend, Naxxramas was once the Nerubian home to the now fallen king, Anub’arak. Its corridors were transformed by the Lich King’s dark power and lifted from its subterranean location and into the skies. It became the base operation for Kel’Thuzad to spread the crippling scrouge plague across Lordaeron.

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Players are freaking out over faction hubs being moved from Karabor and Bladespire, but find out why they just won’t work in Warlords of Draenor!

Back during BlizzCon, World of Warcraft players were informed that their faction capitals would be located across Draenor from each other. The Horde would be located at Bladespire, Frostfire Ridge and the Alliance would be at the Temple of Karabor (Black Temple), Shadowmoon Valley.

A lot of confusion happened quickly when Lead Game Designer Cory “Mumper” Stockton tweeted the following:

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Farewell, sweet prince! Rob Pardo leaves Blizzard Entertainment!

Rob Pardo is one of the many game pioneers to have advanced development without any background in game design/development. He has been with Blizzard Entertainment for 17 years and today he announced his departure.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology, Law, and Society, but joined Blizzard Entertainment during his last year of college in 1997. He joined the Starcraft team as Designer and Strike Team member before becoming a Lead Designer for Starcraft: Brood Wars.

After the success of Starcraft, Pardo was moved to oversee Blizzard’s bestseller, Warcraft III: The Reign of Chaos and expansion Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.

From there, he was promoted to Vice President of Game Design with Blizzard Entertainment. With this role, he lead the design for World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade all the way to World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. It was during 2012 that he was in charge of Diablo III as Executive Producer.

He was the one who hired Jay Wilson for the Diablo III project and defended him when he stepped down from the team. He preferred that players direct that attention on to him.

He then went on to be Chief Creative Officer for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft in 2014. Hearthstone has been building up momentum in popularity and branching into the esports scene with quite a bit of controversy.

But not as much controversy as his stance on Nintendo Tomodachi Life same-sex marriage. Twitter took up the mantle of #PardoMeBlizz based on a misconstrued and opinionated article back in May.

As stated, Rob Pardo is currently leaving Blizzard Entertainment to pursue the next chapter in his career. When you reach the top, there’s nothing else to strive for, is there?

In His Own Words

Every ending is a beginning and today marks a new beginning for me.

After 17 years at Blizzard, with long and careful contemplation, I have made a difficult and bittersweet but ultimately exciting decision to pursue the next chapter in my life and career.

Before I even joined Blizzard, I was already a huge fan of the company and its games. In particular, I was extremely passionate about the emerging genre of real-time strategy games. It was a dream come true when I was given the opportunity to work on StarCraft, which at the time was being created by a very small team by today’s standards. It was tremendously fulfilling to get to know everyone on the team personally and to contribute our energies toward a shared goal in such a creative and engaging environment.

Blizzard Entertainment has been simply the best place in the world to be a game designer. The best aspect of designing games at Blizzard is that the entire company is passionate about the gameplay within each and every product. From the executive team to customer service to our global offices, every single person is a player and contributes to making the best possible games. It’s for very good reason that the first credit on every Blizzard game is “Game Design by Blizzard Entertainment.”

I’m really proud of the contributions I was able to make to Blizzard’s accomplishments. From building lasting games, to supporting the growth of eSports, to extending the Warcraft world into a feature film, and of course to being able to celebrate our shared passions with the Blizzard community online and at BlizzCon.

The Blizzard community is ultimately the reason why we come to work every day and pour our souls into every world and experience we create. Blizzard’s players are the most passionate in the world and your commitment and dedication are truly awesome to behold. Creating entertainment for you has been an incredible opportunity, and I know that you will continue to grow and become even stronger as a community over the years to come. It has been so meaningful on a personal level to help create joy for all of you.

I’m looking forward to new challenges in my career, but I will always cherish the time I spent with you all and the amazing and collaborative teams at Blizzard. It was both satisfying and humbling, and it made me a better developer and a better person. I look forward to playing Blizzard games as a player for many years to come. Most important, now I have plenty of time to learn how to build a competitive Hearthstone deck.

As to what I will be doing next, I don’t have an answer for you yet … but I will “when it’s ready.” My priorities are to enjoy the summer with my family, play plenty of games, and think about what’s next. The game industry is such an exciting place right now with PC gaming thriving, the new consoles, mobile games, and virtual reality becoming an actual reality. It’s like having an empty quest log and going into a new zone for the first time.

In the past, I haven’t been the most avid Twitter user, but I’ll strive to do better and keep you updated there—@Rob_Pardo. Please stay in touch!

Rob

Good-bye faction based Auction Houses in World of Warcraft!

When a game is in testing mode, it’s the perfect opportunity for developers to sneak in a few things and see how they go without any warning. Thankfully, several attentive beta testers in Warlords of Draenor noticed that the Auction Houses were no longer separated by faction.

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New Blizzard Merchandise appearing at San Diego Comic-Con!

If you are planning on going to San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) this July, you’ll want to swing by the Blizzard Entertainment booth. Much like last year, they are raiding SDCC with more premier items as an exclusive sneak-peek on the convention floor. But there’s more happening at the Blizzard Entertainment booth than cool gear so make sure to visit them all weekend.

Luckily for viewers at home, some of these items will be available on the Blizzard Gear Store after the event. Others will only be available for a limited time!

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A win-trade exploit in ranked PvP means more changes in World of Warcraft!

Sometimes, players just have to ruin everyone’s fun by finding new ways to exploit a game. Though this exploit had not affected all regions in World of Warcraft, the team took some preemptive steps to keep the gameplay fair for all in PvP in the latest hotfixes.

Battlegrounds and Arenas

  • Deserter debuff
    • Deserter debuff now lasts 5 minutes (down from 20 minutes). New applications of the Deserter debuff within a 20-minute rolling window extends its duration by 5 additional minutes each time, up to a maximum of 20 minutes.
    • The Deserter debuff is applied under the following conditions:
      • Arena or Rated Battlegrounds: Leaving the queue, ignoring the prompt to enter when the match is ready, or leaving the match before anyone has entered combat.
      • Battlegrounds: Leaving before the match is over.
    • Additional information on the change to the Deserter debuff can be found in the forum thread titledUpcoming Deserter Hotfixes for Rated PvP.

Deserter Debuffing Coming to Arena/Rated Near You!

As stated, these hotfixes are to nip a PvP exploit in the bud before in affects all players of all regions.  Community Manager Lore explained on the forums how these changes will work.

Once these hotfixes are applied, a player who leaves an Arena or Rated Battleground before anyone in the match has entered combat will, at first, be given a 5-minute Deserter debuff. If they leave another match prematurely within a 20-minute window, the duration of the Deserter debuff will increase by 5 minutes each time (and the 20-minute window will restart), to a maximum of 20 minutes. The debuff will also apply if a player leaves the queue (or ignores it) once the match is ready and they’re given the prompt to enter.

The Deserter debuff given for leaving a non-rated Battleground early will also be changed to begin at 5 minutes (and increase by 5 minutes for each subsequent desertion), but otherwise the rules will stay the same. Leaving a Random Battleground in progress at any point before it’s finished will give the Deserter debuff, and leaving or ignoring the prompt to enter a non-rated Battleground will not.

These changes should not affect regular players much. The average for Arena matches tends to be at least 20 mins in length until Dampening takes affect.

However, including this debuff to these parts of World of Warcraft feels a bit too late. Do you think the Deserter Debuff should have been part of Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds when it was first introduced?

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There are many changes that will be going into Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Patch 2.1.0 such as class balance and new features. However, the below information is only a preview of what is currently in the works. Again, this is just a preview and a more detailed update on Patch 2.1.0 Notes will available at a later point.

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Radu “RDU” Dima accused of winning $10,000* in DreamHack Hearthstone Tournament with tip offs from friends!

The Hearthstone tournament at DreamHack concluded yesterday with Radu “RDU” Dima winning $10,000*. Readers will notice the asterisks next to the prize pool because, reportedly, this wasn’t a very fair match.

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