Blizzard’s new-found focus on storytelling is a step in the right direction for World of Warcraft

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“Gameplay first.”

The first thing you see upon Blizzard Entertainment’s mission statement webpage is this statement, standing firmly as the first of “eight core values” that serves as the code for game development within this massive company.

It’s no secret that Blizzard has always prioritized gameplay over other elements in their video games. This core value of “gameplay first” is what’s lead the studio to being seen as a titan within the video game industry. The immersive world and fluid combat of World of Warcraft; the gameplay improvements and tweaks brought upon Diablo 3 with Reaper of Souls; the near perfect RTS elements of Starcraft; all of these worlds that have been crafted by Blizzard offer fantastic experiences in gameplay as a whole.

Despite all these obvious positives in Blizzard’s video games, what elements have they overlooked? In this case, and for this piece, there’s one element that to the opinion of several fans have always been lacking severely: Storytelling.

Activision Blizzard Q3 2014 Financial Results Conference on Nov 4

Activision Blizzard plans to release the Third Quarter 2014 Financial Results on November 4, 2014. Check out Blizzplanet after the conference call to learn any new updates concerning the various Blizzard franchises. This conference call will take place a week before BlizzCon 2014.

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SANTA MONICA, Calif. –(BUSINESS WIRE)— Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) intends to release its third quarter 2014 results after the close of the market on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 . In conjunction with this release, Activision Blizzard will host a conference call that will be broadcast over the Internet.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

1:30 p.m. Pacific Time ( 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time )

To listen to the call, please log onto:

http://investor.activision.com/events.cfm

Or dial:

U.S. and Canada : 877-681-3367
International: 719-325-4770
Passcode: 5237379

Anyone planning to dial in to the call should RSVP to Pam Beaver at:

E-mail: [email protected]

A presentation corresponding with the conference call will be available in Adobe Acrobat format at http://investor.activision.com/events.cfm

A replay of the call will also be available approximately three hours after the call’s conclusion and archived for one year in the Investor Relations section at www.activisionblizzard.com

 

Blizzard cancels TITAN the next-gen MMO

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This is probably one of the biggest news from Blizzard since the announcement of Walords of Draenor last year. In an interview with Polygon, Christ Metzen and Mike Morhaime announced that after 7 years of development the unannounced project called TITAN, was simply cancelled due to the loss of fun during the development.

During that time, there was revamp of the project multiple time, this is maybe where Blizzard team lost the passion making what could have been an ambitious MMO using next-gen technology.

Blizzard has officially canceled development on its mysterious next-generation massively multiplayer game Titan. The company confirmed the news to Polygon in a recent interview.

This revelation comes after at least seven years in development and word last year that the developer was going back to the drawing board to reevaluate the project.

Speaking to Polygon, Blizzard co-founder and CEO Mike Morhaime reiterated that the company has technically never officially announced Titan, though it hasn’t been shy to talk about the game over the past seven years. “We had created World of Warcraft, and we felt really confident that we knew how to make MMOs,” Morhaime said. “So we set out to make the most ambitious thing that you could possibly imagine. And it didn’t come together.

Read the all article from Polygon, right here.

 

“We didn’t find the fun,” Morhaime continued. “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.”

Medivh (Possibly) Sighted in the Warlords of Draenor Alpha

A big surprise has been unearthed in the Warlords of Draenor alpha. A youtube poster known only as “WoDBeta” has uploaded a video of the quest “All is Revealed” in Frostfire Ridge. The quest has players use an “all-seeing eye” created by Khadgar to spy on Gul’dan and the Shadow Council. Gul’dan is seen accompanied by his usual accomplices Cho’Gall, Teron’gor and Giselda the Crone. However a fourth ally can be seen standing next to Gul’dan, his appearance obscured by shadows.

Once Gul’dan notices the presence of the all-seeing eye, the shadowy being vanishes while the other four remain. Who is this Mysterious Figure? There is one individual who immediately comes to mind. Someone who both greatly resembles the figure’s silhouette, and has a very strong connection to Gul’dan at this point in time. The Last Guardian, Medivh… (Though he’s technically not the Last Guardian anymore due to Med’an, but that’s still kind of Medivh’s title)

Azeroth Choppers: Winner unveil tomorrow + Episode 8 this week!

Hello. Paul Jr recently wrote on his twitter account/facebook that unveiling of the winning choppers of warcraft, will be unveiled tomorrow. The Vote-polls closed yesterday, and it´s now up to Blizzard to count all votes, and announce the winner of the Azeroth Choppers. Who will win? Horde or Alliance? It have been a close lead between both choppers, and it was up to the fans to vote their favorite, and the one that will get an FREE-ingame input to the game. Rumors has it that both choppers will get put into the game, although the losing chopper will have a price or discount in Blizz Store. SO far we don´t know yet, but if they made two choppers, why don´t put both in-game? At least, Paul Jr is ready and pumped up by the response and the journey, and is excited to unveil the winner! Also, Episode 8 of Azeroth Choppers go live on thursday June 5th.

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We will have more information about the event once Blizzard gives official news, Stay Tuned!

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Are you excited for Warlords of Draenor? Fear not, Blizzard will announce news very soon!

Azeroth Choppers — Episode 5

On this episode of Azeroth Choppers, both of Blizzard’s Alliance and Horde team are heading toward Paul’s JR Designs to have a look on the choppers !

Azeroth Choppers Episode 5 – Watch Now!

The time has come! This week on Azeroth Choppers, the Blizzard teams brave the cold and journey out to New York for a first look at the Horde and Alliance bikes.

Keep up to date on all of the latest episodes at www.AzerothChoppers.com, and let your faction’s war cry be heard with #AzerothChoppers.

 

Activision Blizzard Q1 2014 Finacial Results Conference Call – Mike Morhaime Transcript

activision-blizzard-logoThe first quarter of 2014 ended with 7.6 million World of Warcraft subscribers (200 thousand below the previous quarter). However, Warlords of Draenor pre-orders have surpassed 1 million sales even without an official release date. The number will continue to increase. The Warlords of Draenor Collector’s Edition isn’t yet on sale at retailers, which means pre-order sales will continue to increase.

The conference call still didn’t provide an official release date simply generalizing that Warlords of Draenor is slated for the second half of 2014. However, mentions Alpha testing will begin soon. It is a trend now with Heroes of the Storm, and now with Warlords of Draenor that opt-in players will get invited in waves into the Warlords of Draenor Alpha testing.

Hearthstone is now played by 10 million players worldwide, more content in development and new platforms coming in 2014. This in reference to Hearthstone on Android devices, announced at PAX East 2014.

Diablo III will see content updates and new console versions. Check out below the audio and transcript.

Activision Blizzard to Release First Quarter 2014 Financial Results on May 6, 2014

Activision Blizzard announced the next Financial Results conference call will take place on May 6th at 1:30pm PST / 4:30pm EST.

As usual, Blizzard Entertainment CEO Mike Morhaime is expected to present his report about Blizzard games’ progress and overall performance for the first quarter of 2014.

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Speculation Mode-On

Before starting, I wish to point out that most of the time these conference calls do not share any new details and sometimes no official announcements about upcoming games.

However, there have been precedents in past conference calls where Mike Morhaime has announced BlizzCon that year, at one point he offered an ETA range for the StarCraft II beta testing (which started 2 weeks after the conference call), and other interesting news bits might happen during his speech at the Activision Blizzard financial results conference call. Thus, nothing can be ruled out about upcoming Blizzard games/expansions, but don’t hold your breath.

Things I can think of at the tip of my mind that “might” be discussed:

[Artcraft] The Daughter of Argus

Lugìa: A few moments ago, Blizzard published another Artcraft about the revamp of the character models, and this time it is about the female Draenei (not a April Fool this time!), enjoy that space-goat !

Medievaldragon: I wish to point out to our visitors that this ArtCraft is only a sneak peek. The developer assigned to the development of the female draenei model hasn’t finished. Once the model is finished, it will be sent to the animators where the model will be tweaked for some time to add facial and body animations. Blizzard might have something more juicy to show at a later time.

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Hello again! I’m Senior Art Director Chris Robinson, and today we wanted to give you a super quick look at our current progress with the new female Draenei.

After the April Fools’ joke we wanted to ensure you weren’t waiting too long to see where we’re at with her actual character model update. Keep in mind that she’s still in-progress, and doesn’t have any animation to pose her body or face.

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Animation is a big factor for the female Draenei specifically, so it’s important to keep it in mind when comparing the two. The original female Draenei has some fairly extreme posing that happens when she’s animated. If you were to see the static model of the original without any posing you’d see that it looks very similar to the new one. With her pose applied her shoulders stretch backward, her pelvis rotates forward, and her chin lowers—causing her head to angle downwards. The curvature in her lower back, and why the head shape looks slightly different, are also due to the new model not having the same posing applied yet. She also looks a lot taller! Ultimately all of those things will be addressed when we animate the new model, they just don’t take place until she’s rigged and sent on to the animation team.

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We hope you enjoyed this super quick look at where we’re at right now, and we’ll continuing sharing more in-progress art as we go forward. The next article in the Artcraft series we’re planning is a look at the creation of the Spires of Arak, a new zone coming in Warlords of Draenor. Thanks for stopping by!

Senior Character Artist Joe Keller did the majority of the work on this revamp, with direction from our Lead Character Artist Tyson Murphy (@tysmurph), and myself (@artofcgrobinson).

 

Activision Blizzard Q3 2013 Financial Results Conference Call – Mike Morhaime Transcript

The Activision Blizzard Third Quarter Financial conference call took place on November 6th, 2013 at 1:30pm PDT.

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Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard, said: “Our third-quarter results exceeded our expectations, and we are able to raise our outlook for 2013 net revenues and earnings per share.

Robust continued engagement with our core franchises drove digi tal revenue, which constituted a majority of all revenue. This quarter demonstrates that games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft engage and entertain our fans year round.”

Kotick added, “We recently released new titles in two of the most popular franchises in entertainment, Call of Duty: Ghosts and Skylanders SWAP Force. We are thrilled by the quality of those games and we are excited to show what we can do with them on next-generation consoles in the coming weeks. We are also in the process of a beta launch for our first major free-to-play game, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.

However, we continue to believe that the fourth quarter this year presents a unique and challenging landscape due to increased competition and uncertainties surrounding the console transition.

We are confident in our ability to navigate these challenges successfully, particularly in light of the recent completion of our transaction with Vivendi and the focus and flexibility provided by our return to independence.”

  • As of September 30, 2013, Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft remains the #1 subscription-based MMORPG, with approximately 7.6 million subscribers.
  • In North America, Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft® II: Heart of the Swarm® was the #1 PC game for the first nine months of 2013.

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Morhaime: Q3 was an eventful quarter for Blizzard. We launched our first console game in many years with Diablo III. We also announced an expansion pack for Diablo III — Reaper of Souls.

Additionally, beta testing for Hearthstone kicked off and we released significant content update for World of Warcraft.

All of this activity has netted out to a strong quarter where we ended higher in net revenue and operating income versus Q2 mostly due to the Diablo III console launch on September.

Revenues and income were down year over year — as expected — due to the successful launch of Mists of Pandaria and the ongoing sales of Diablo III during the same quarter last year.

Going into more specific details with World of Warcraft, we’re very pleased with the response to Siege of Orgrimmar — the massive content update we released in September. This update included a huge new raid dungeon with major story elements, as well as a new area to explore and features that improved the game’s accessibility.

Flexible rates now allow groups of variable size to participate in the end-game raiding dungeons. Meanwhile, the Proving Grounds feature trains players to improve their play in specific roles, preparing them to participate in end-game content. Player response to the content has been good, and we saw increased engagement that has contributed to maintaining relatively stable subscribership quarter-over-quarter. We’ll continue to invest heavily in World of Warcraft to deliver frequent, high-quality content to our players.

Moving on to Diablo III, we are pleased with the response to the games launched on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Lifetime sell-through of the game across all platforms has reached over 14 million copies, and reviews have been very positive about how the game plays on console. Much of the praise has been centered on changes we made to the loot system and our decision to keep the auction house off of the console platform. Players and critics alike have noted that these changes have resulted in a more fun and satisfying game experience. That reaction factored in our decision to remove the auction house from the PC version of Diablo III effective next March, which players have also responded very positively to.

We’re building upon those design philosophies for loot and incorporating them into Reaper of Souls, the Diablo III expansion pack — which is coming for PC and PS4 in 2014.

In addition to the new loot system, Reaper of Souls will include an additional player class, the Crusader, and more gameplay modes for the endgame to keep players engaged. The reaction to Reaper of Souls at Gamescom was very positive, and we are looking forward to revealing more about the game at BlizzCon.

It was also a busy quarter for Hearthstone, our free-to-play digital card game for PC and iPad based on the Warcraft universe. In Hearthstone, players build decks of cards that feature familiar spells and creatures from World of Warcraft, and battle against each other using the cards. Players can collect cards simply by playing or by purchasing digital packs. They can also purchase entries into a special competitive mode of play called The Arena in exchange for either in-game currency or a small fee.

We’ve seen a great response from the community with the closed beta test, which kicked off in August. Hearthstone quickly became one of the most popular streaming games on Twitch, and we have been expanding the beta test to encompass more regions and a wider group of players. We’re continuing to work on polishing the game as we drive towards open beta testing.

Rounding out our big announcements since the last call is the name change of Blizzard All-Stars to Heroes of the Storm, which is our take on free-to-play hero brawlers. We’ve done an extensive internal test on Heroes over the past several months, and as the game has evolved, we felt it was appropriate to change the name to something more fitting of the gameplay experience.

We’re looking forward to sharing more details about Heroes at BlizzCon, which is taking place this weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center. This is another sold-out show, with more than 20,000 attendees coming to Anaheim from more than 40 different countries.

Our global community will also follow along through DIRECTV, online pay-per-view on blizzcon.com and partner broadcast in other regions. We will be showcasing our biggest pipeline of games ever and showing our appreciation for our community through contests, meet-and-greets and of course, major eSports spectacles.

The World of Warcraft Arena invitational and the global grand finals of the StarCraft II World Championship Series will be taking place, along with an invitational tournament for Hearthstone, featuring popular community personalities.

All of us at Blizzard can’t wait to get back to BlizzCon and connect with our players. We hope you’ll join us there or follow along online with a virtual ticket available online at blizzcon.com.

We are looking forward to celebrating a shared passion of gaming with our players, hearing their feedback on our newest game content and taking that energy and knowledge back to work as we drive towards an exciting 2014 for Blizzard.

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