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Medievaldragon

Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film. Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers. I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for Diablofans.com (formerly Diablo3.com) ***Fans who would love to watch Blizzard-related panels and appreciate our efforts can support Blizzplanet's patreon in a monthly-basis, or a one-time basis. Our staff are volunteer fans like you. Your donations will help us travel to all the Blizzard events we attend year-round to bring you the latest interview with the developers, photos, and panel videos (where allowed).

GamesCom 2017 Blizzard Schedule: WoW Cinematic Reveal & New IP?

Blizzard Entertainment released the GamesCom 2017 schedule which features a World of Warcraft cinematic reveal on Wed Aug 23 at 6pm.

At this point, we are not too optimistic on a new expansion announcement at GamesCom. Maybe at BlizzCon. What I personally think will happen at GamesCom after seeing the schedule is the 7.3 Cinematic reveal. If you start a level 110 character copy in the PTR 7.3, you will notice that after you start the quest to travel from Azeroth to Argus in the Vindicaar, the Legion Cinematic Intro starts to play (as a placeholder). That cinematic has not been unveiled yet in the PTR. So it makes sense that Blizzard will focus its allocated time for World of Warcraft on featuring the 7.3 Cinematic, and some of its core features.

An interesting observation we discovered before Blizzard finished editing the GamesCom page is an image that appeared in our Slack channel when I posted the URL for our staff team. The image hadn’t been added yet to the page, but it was in the HTML meta.

We have never seen this character before, which prompts the question: Will Blizzard announce a new IP?

Characters represented in the GamesCom 2017 keyart:

World of Warcraft — Turalyon
Heroes of the Storm — Kerrigan Queen of Ghosts skin
Diablo III — The Necromancer
Overwatch — Pharah
StarCraft II — Fenix clone “Talandar” (Co-op Commander)
New IP? — Girl holding Hearthstone cards. White rat on her shoulder.

This girl character is completely unknown and out of place. She has never been seen in any Blizzard game before. Not even Overwatch — and her aesthetics point to Overwatch’s art style. Not long ago, during the Activision Blizzard Q2 2017 financial conference call’s Q&A, Mike Morhaime mentioned there were multiple IPs in incubation at the studios (read the transcript). Morhaime specifically highlighted a mobile game. Could this girl be a character from one of them?

GamesCom 2017

 

UPDATE: Via Twitter, a fan going by @TheLostCodex points out the rat with the red bandana around its neck has been seen before. The girl is holding Hearthstone cards, and has a rat we have seen before on Harth Stonebrew’s shoulder. Occam’s Razor? Simply a random girl representing Hearthstone?

 

UPDATE: The girl is still a mystery. But interesting that this white rat has been in Hearthstone in plain sight all along. Thanks PalocU.

 

Could you talk at a high level how Blizzard is allocating its time and resources right now? What percent of man-hours are spent on new IP versus existing IP? And I guess I’d be curious to hear you talk about how you think about Blizzard’s new IP pipeline the next three to five years.

Morhaime: First and foremost, I’d just say that the bulk of our focus continues to be supporting our existing players and releasing high-quality content for our existing games. This quarter is a great example of that approach. We delivered a consistent flow of updates, and new content across all of our games; and that has driven record engagement even without a new game launch. We are also really excited about the future.

In addition to supporting all of our live games, we are committed to incubating new initiatives, and we are also thinking about different platforms, especially mobile.

In terms of new IP, our pipeline is in a better position than ever before in our history. Last year, Allen Adham (who co-founded Blizzard with me and Frank Pearce) returned to the company to take on the task of coordinating our efforts in this regard; and this includes some great ideas that we had already started to explore. So we now have multiple dedicated incubation teams that are being led by some of our most experienced game designers at Blizzard.

I should say that creating new Blizzard-quality games on any platform will take time; and as we have shown in the past, we are not going to release any games that we don’t feel live up to our expectations, or those of our players.

When we do bring new experiences to current or new platforms for new and existing IPs, there are going to be ideas that our teams are passionate about, and that we think there is a large audience for.

 

 

The GamesCom 2017 Blizzard Merchandise is also available:

 

Pre-Order Destiny 2 for Early-Access Beta August 28

Destiny 2 (PC) Beta starts officially on August 29 for everyone, but those who pre-order Destiny 2 (PC) get 1-day ahead of everyone else with an Early-Access codekey. For those who want a seamless experience at cancelling the pre-order you can get it here.

Within 2-3 days you will get an email from Amazon with the Beta Early-Access code. At that point:

1. To redeem the code, go to Bungie.net/en/User/Register (if you don’t have a Bungie account.)

2. Please choose a network to sign in with: PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, or Blizzard (Choose Blizzard).

3. Login using your Blizzard Battle.net account credentials when the pop up window appears. It uses the Blizzard Oauth.

4. Go to https://www.bungie.net/en/User/coderedemption to redeem your code.

5. I am uncertain if they will give you another code. If they do give you another code, then it must be redeemed at https://us.battle.net/account/management/claim-code.html

If no code is provided at the Bungie Redeem Code page, then you are set already to download Destiny 2 (PC) on August 28 from your Blizzard Battle.net Launcher.

The second option (if you don’t plan to cancel the pre-order) is to pre-order directly from Blizzard here.

The Destiny 2 (PC) Early-Access Beta starts on August 28 via the Blizzard Battle.net Launcher. Everyone else gets access to beta on August 29. Beta ends on August 31. After that, Destiny 2 goes live for PC on October 24.

 

Blizzard Battle.net Rebrand

Blizzard Entertainment heard the community feedback and backpedaled the decision to rebrand Battle.net into “Blizzard App.” The app will be known henceforth as “Blizzard Battle.net” (source)

When we announced that we’d be transitioning away from the Battle.net name for our online-gaming service, we suspected that the shift would be challenging. We understood that Battle.net stood for something special—it represents years of shared history and enjoyment, community and friendship, for all of us and our players.

Battle.net is the central nervous system for Blizzard games and the connective tissue that has brought Blizzard players together since 1996. The technology was never going away, but after giving the branding change further consideration and also hearing your feedback, we’re in agreement that the name should stay as well. Take it from the developer formerly known as Silicon & Synapse, and Chaos Studios, names are important too.

Moving forward, to help offset some of the original concerns we listed back in September, we will be connecting “Blizzard” to “Battle.net” in our logo for the service and in general when we refer to it in print: Blizzard Battle.net.

We appreciate your feedback and look forward to many more years of bringing players together online.

Thanks,

Blizzard Entertainment

Blizzard Battle.net

 

 

World of Warcraft PTR Patch 7.3 (v0.24781)

The World of Warcraft PTR Patch 7.3 (v0.24781)

  • New loading screens
  • The Netherlight Crucible quest is now working and you can turn in the quest
  • Thaumaturge Vashreen (in the Vindicaar) now sells iLevel 910 items for 650 Veiled Argunite
  • The Argus map allows you to click the zones: Mac’Aree, Antoran Wastes, and Krokun to view the map of each zone. It still has two issues where the Invasion Point icon still shows there and map is still named Broken Isles.
  • The Invasion Points are now active once more for testing.
  • Rare Elites in the Antoran Wastes are now dropping catch up soulbound loot like in the Timeless Isle (Mists of Pandaria). The soulbound loot is iLevel 880 — USE: Create a Soulbound item appropriate for your loot specialization. Requires level 110.
  • You can now collect Demon Eyes after getting the eredar disguise buff “Agent of the All-Seer” from All-Seer Focus (Read instructions). Any kind of demon in the Antoran Wastes has a chance to drop Demon Eyes.
  • All NPC dialogues during quests now have voice over.

 

Raid Testing Schedule

Skordyn: On Thursday, August 10th and Friday, August 11th we will be conducting raid tests of Antorus, the Burning Throne. If testing goes well, a number of the bosses tested will remain open on Normal difficulty over the weekend.

Thursday, August 10th

Varimathras – Heroic Antorus, the Burning Throne
13:00 PDT (16:00 EDT, 22:00 CEST)

The Coven of Shivarra – Heroic Antorus, the Burning Throne
14:00 PDT (17:00 EDT, 23:00 CEST)

Aggramar- Heroic Antorus, the Burning Throne
15:00 PDT (18:00 EDT, 0:00 CEST)

Friday, August 11th

Garothi Worldbreaker – Mythic Antorus, the Burning Throne
13:00 PDT (16:00 EDT, 22:00 CEST)

Felhounds of Sargeras – Mythic Antorus, the Burning Throne
14:00 PDT (17:00 EDT, 23:00 CEST)

Friday, August 11th – Monday, August 14th

Kin’garoth, Varimathras, Coven of the Shivarra and Aggramar – Normal Antorus, the Burning Throne

As always, this testing schedule is very fluid and subject to the realities of a PTR environment. We might have to change the time of a testing session, change the bosses being tested, or cancel a test entirely, due to bugs, server hardware issues, etc. Keep an eye on this forum for the latest information, and thank you in advance for testing and providing feedback.

Q: How do I get into the raid zone?

A: In Dalaran, Orgrimmar, or Stormwind, you may speak to Nexus-Lord Donjon Rade Sr. in order to teleport into the raid zone while it is open for testing. (The option to teleport into a zone will not be available when the zone is not open for testing.)

Q: What character should I use to test the raid?

A: Whichever you prefer. We will be scaling players’ effective level to 110 for raid testing, and their item level to an appropriate threshold for the encounter(s) being tested.

Q: How long does testing last?

A: The primary purpose of testing is to give us the information we need to balance the encounters, evaluate how mechanics are playing out in practice, and identify bugs. Once we’re satisfied that we’ve received that information for a given boss, we’ll be shutting down testing. Usually this takes anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours, but there are no guarantees.

 

Patch 7.3 – Miss the Fel Reaver days? Argus has you covered

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, in a very very distant… place named Outland, players who decided to take a little break going AFK would meet a certain death, or while fighting a bunch of trash mobs they would hear a distant hellish whirl sound, turn around, and have the infamous Fel Reaver stomp on them to death. That Fel Reaver was the stuff of legends, let me tell you.

With Patch 7.3, you don’t only have to worry about an upgraded Fel Reaver, but two other threats. One is environmental, and the other one is a Legion weapon.

 

The Death of a Titan Rewards Netherlight Crucible Enhancement Legendary Ring

The quest titled “The Death of a Titan” rewards the Insignia of the Grand Army — a Legendary Ring that increases the effects of Light and Shadow powers granted by the Netherlight Crucible by 50%.

In order to acquire this reward, players have to defeat the Soul of Argus aka the final boss Argus the Unmaker in the Antorus, the Burning Throne raid.

 

Activision Blizzard Q2 2017 Financial Conference Transcript

The Activision Blizzard Q2 2017 financial conference call took place today Aug 3 at 4:30pm EST. If you read the transcript after the break, it seems that World of Warcraft Patch 7.3 is scheduled internally for release after GamesCom 2017. Blizzard will feature the content there (unless Coddy was referring to something else).

  • Activision Blizzard had 407 million Monthly Active Users (MAUs)B in the quarter.

  • Blizzard had the biggest quarterly online player community in its history with a record 46 million MAUsB, up 38% year-over-year. The Overwatch community continued to grow more than a year after launch, setting another all-time MAUB record with the release of two seasonal events in the quarter. Hearthstone® MAUsB grew year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter to an all-time record, driven by its expansion, Journey to Un’Goro™.

  • Blizzard had Q2-record time spent. In April, Blizzard launched Uprising, an Overwatch seasonal event that included a player-versus-environment mode that drew record play time. Overwatch’s Anniversary event in May and June also drove strong engagement with record participation in customization items. Time spent in World of Warcraft® grew year-over-year in the second quarter, and the Legion™ expansion continued to perform ahead of the prior expansion.

  • Blizzard announced the first seven team sales for the Overwatch League , the first major global professional esports league with city-based teams, and the league is set to begin its inaugural competitive season later this year.

  • Blizzard announced a live-streaming media rights partnership for esports and in-game content across a number of franchises, but excluding Overwatch League content.

  • Activision Blizzard delivered nearly $1 billion of in-game revenues in the quarter with record performance in the first half of 2017.

  • Blizzard’s Overwatch, Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, and Diablo® III, which debuted new content during the quarter, drove strong in-game participation.

The event didn’t have Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime this time as a speaker, but he answered a question during the Q&A. The conference had the following speakers: Activision Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick, Collister “Coddy” Johnson, and Spencer Neumann. Read the most pertinent parts of the event in the transcript.

Activision Blizzard Q2 2017