PC

August 28, 2015

The Final Verdict on Garrisons

Horde and Alliance Level 3 Garrisons

When I heard that Blizzard were introducing Garrisons to WoW I was initially excited, the concept sounded great and the idea of character housing had been something players had been after for a long time. So, we now had this home base all of our very own to go back to, with everything you could need under one roof, banking, professions, quests, all in the comfort of your own Garrison. But something was terribly wrong, the Garrison got tedious very, very quickly.

Apart from your Garrison making you feel extremely isolated from everyone else in the game, one of my particular bugbears is that by incorporating the professions into the Garrison it felt like you just had all these boring tasks to be completed before moving on to something more interesting – log in, you’re in your Garrison, go to the mission table and send out followers, time to go to the mine, time to go to the herb garden, time to go and collect timber for your mill and so on. By doing this it took something away from having to go out into the world and actually look for things which is part of the enjoyment of the game, it somewhat bypassed exploration for the fun of it and running into random events and other players on route. I honestly miss logging into a tavern somewhere in Azeroth and being surrounded by other players, at the moment I log in, I’m in my Garrison and it’s time to go to the mine, sigh!

Now, how about the Garrison and Shipyard mission tables? Each mission takes between 30 minutes and 12 hours to complete on average, so you basically log in and then depending on the level of your followers you assign them to missions aiming to get an 100% chance of success – there is very little strategy here and once you have the hang of it (which takes no time at all) it’s just another boring task to complete at your Garrison in the hope of getting Garrison supplies, gold, or other items. You do not interact with your followers, you just assign them to tasks, wait till the time is up and collect your loot, think microwave popcorn, ding, take out popcorn put in next batch. And, that is not even mentioning the Shipyard’s policy on completely destroying ships that you’ve taken the time to level up should you not complete a mission, therefore, for every mission it is just better to make sure it has a 100% chance of success otherwise be prepared to kiss your Destroyer goodbye.

 

Garrison mission table

I guess it’s a bit of disappoint that it hasn’t worked out as I initially thought or as Blizzard had planned, but it was a good idea and I accept that some good things did come out of it, it just didn’t work in the game for me and a lot of other players, particularly as end-game content. At this point in time, the idea of levelling a new character and then having to level another Garrison for each new character makes me cry a little inside. I’m glad that the new expansion, Legion, is moving away from the Garrison and getting us all back out into the world and interacting with other players. I have no doubt that Blizzard will build upon everything they have learned from the Garrisons and the feedback received from players and I’m optimistic that Legion’s Class Hall will be a much better fit for the game dynamics as a whole.

 

Class Hall image

From what we know, the Class Hall is going to be similar in some ways to Garrisons, building on its good points, and as their name suggests they will be unique to each class. At the Class Hall you will be able to get class-specific quests and missions and customise artifacts. However, the main difference is that they will also be available to other members of your class which takes away that complete sense of isolation and inactivity experienced within your current Garrison. We also know that instead of just picking up followers to send on yet another mission via your Garrison mission table, we’ll have select champions of our class who will assist us in our own quests. The information available on the Class Halls are not set in stone but it has definite potential and to be honest, I’m not sure it can be worse that the current Garrison set-up.

So, what will I miss from my Garrison? Well, the second Hearthstone was pretty handy.

August 12, 2015

The Return of the Burning Legion

WoW Legion Image from Blizzard Website

These are exciting times for all World of Warcraft fans, with the announcement of the latest World of Warcraft expansion, Legion. The expansion was just announced at Gamescom 2015 and since then Blizzard has released a raft of information which includes the key features and necessary lore to enable all fans can get up to speed before jumping into the action.

Legion will be set on The Broken Isles, which is a new and expansive continent comprising several small islands in the heart of Azeroth: The Broken Shore, Suramar, Stormhein, Highmountian, Val’sharan, and Azsuna. In Warcraft lore, before the Great Sundering, the region that would become the Broken Isles was a part of Ancient Kalimdor . It was here that the ancient forest of Val’sharah, home of Cenarius, was located, as well as the city of Suramar, hometown of Tyrande Whisperwind, Malfurion Stormrage, and Illidan Stormrage.

The Broken Isles Map

In this new expansion, the mutual enemy of the Horde and the Alliance, the Burning Legion, has returned. In order to combat the armies of the Legion invading Azeroth, both Alliance and Horde must secure mighty artifacts and join forces with a new hero class, the Demon Hunter – an elven outcast shunned for daring to wield the terrible powers of the Legion. The objective is to find the Pillars of Creation which are the secret to Azeroth’s salvation.

Apart from the setting and the familiar addition of new Dungeons and Raid, World of Warcraft Legion will also be bringing plenty of additional content into the gameplay. The new features are summarised below:

  • New continent: The Broken Isles
  • New class: Demon Hunter (Tank and DPS available)
  • Artifacts: customizable weapons that grow in power as you do
  • Class-specific Order Halls and followers
  • All New Dungeons and Raids
  • New World Bosses
  • Level cap raised to 110
  • Re-vamped PvP progression system
  • Improved transmogrification system
  • Improved social features
  • Character Boost — immediately raise one character to level 100

 
You can sign up now to opt in for Beta testing later this year. All you have to do is log in to your Battle.net account, go to Beta Profile Settings and check the Warcraft option, making sure you click Update Preferences to save your choice. You will then be eligible to be randomly selected for a Legion beta invitation once the testing process begins.

I hope you are looking forward to seeing what Legion has to offer as much as I am.  For more information on the latest expansion and more details about the new Demon Hunter class, new artifacts and expansion lore you can visit Blizzards dedicated Legion site at www.battle.net/wow/en/legion.

April 11, 2014

Diablo III Patch 2.0.4

On Tuesday Blizzard released a major patch for Diablo III. There have been a lot of changes to the classes as well as some fixes and tweaks, for the full release notes go to: http://www.battle.net/d3/en/blog/13532431/patch-204-now-live-08-04-2014.

The Big Changes

There is big news for pets in this patch with a boost to the damage that they can dish out, all pets, including Witch Doctor and Demon Hunter pets, now scale their damage with Critical Hit Damage.

Crusaders got buffed! They also now incur a 15% damage reduction. After the Crusader being so OP in the beta it came as a surprise that the class in live was so fragile, so this patch has brought the Crusader back to a level that is on an equal footing with the other classes.

Controversial change for Wizards, did it get nerfed? Frozen orb is apparently now ‘fixed’ because it was bugged before. Wizards were getting the maximum orb damage on every hit because the radius was too big and the time the orb lasted was too long. So although this will still be a good ability it’s affect will be reduced. In addition, Teleport has been changed to 3 teleports rather than 4, but the distance you can travel in any one teleport has been increased from 35 yards to 50 yards.

Crafting costs have been reduced, level 70 crafted sets no longer require Flawless Royal gems and instead now require Marquise gems which means that it’s not such a massive overhead and could reduce farming time for some items.

The drop rate of unique Legendary crafting materials has been significantly increased alongside ensuring that Nephalem Rifts are the best way to get legendary items. The number of chests and drops from monsters outside of rifts has been reduced with the drops you are getting in the rifts being tailored to your class now.

April 11, 2014

Blizzard at PAX East 2014

 

Visit east.paxsite.com for  the latest news from PAX East, schedules, forums, and more. You can also download the official PAX app for smart phones for free to your smart phone.

What’s happening at the Blizzard Booth at PAX East 2014

  • Warlords of Draenor hands-on demo featuring updated character models and the intro experience for the upcoming expansion.
  • Hands-on time with the in-development Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition for PlayStation 4.
  • The latest information on Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, and a chance to play the mobile version on iPad.
  • A brand-new demo for Heroes of the Storm, featuring new Heroes playable for the first time anywhere outside of Blizzard.
  • Blizzard developers will be on-hand to chat about your favorite games.

 

Follow @Official_PAX on Twitter and you can also follow @PAX_lines for the latest from the main theatre.

March 19, 2014

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is Almost Here

The Prime Evil has been trapped within the Black Soulstone, but before the artifact can be sealed forever Malthael, the Angel of Death, returns to steal the Black Soulstone and use its power for his own ends.

Are you ready to face the Angel of Death? Check out the offical gameplay trailer for Reaper of Souls.

Go anywhere, slay anything. March 25th 2014.

Remember if you pre-order before the 25th you’ll get the following bonus items:

  • The Wings of Valor in Diablo III
  • Unlock Valla the Demon Hunter in Heroes of the Storm

 

For more information and to pre-order your copy of Reaper of Souls vist the Battle.net shop now.

March 15, 2014

WoW Lore Series: Draenor

Map of Outland

Many thousands of years ago there was a solitary planet in the universe unknown to Azeroth of which the Orcs were the native inhabitants. The Orcs lived simple lives, grouped into clans they held a belief in the elemental forces of nature and followed the path of the Shaman. The Orcs needed nothing more. However, fleeing from persuit, a group of aliens known as the Eredar came to the planet and set-up a colony. This group of Eredar called themselves the Draenei and they named the planet Draenor. Led by their prophet Velen, they were a splinter group from the rest of their race who would not serve Sargeras and the Burning Legion, hey had been mercilessly chased by Kil’jaeden, a powerful eredar demon lord, and finally believed that they had found a place where they would be safe. For the most part the Dranei and the Orcs kept a distance from each other, only sometimes meeting to trade in items that they needed. The Dranei, who were talented magic-wielders, kept their main city hidden and the two races co-existed peacefully on the planet.

However, that peace was not to last. Agents of the Burning Legion found Draenor and picked up the tell-tale signs of Draenei magic there, but when Kil’jaeden found out about the Orcs he immediately saw that they had the potential for destruction and wanted to add this race to his army. He cleverly deceived the Orcs into believing that the Draenei were plotting against them by disguising himself as the deceased mate of one of the elder Shamans, Ner’zhul, and so the Orcs fell into his trap, not only would he add them to his Burning Legion, he would use them to take care of Velen and his followers once and for all. Kil’jaeden gave the orcs dark magic, they had never seen such power and eagerly threw away their shamanistic ways, Shamans became Orc Warlocks. Ner’zhul finally realised what was happening, but it was too late, Kil’jaeden stripped him of the power he had bestowed upon him and instead allowed Ner’zhul’s eager apprentice, who craved power, to take his place as leader.Now that Gul’dan was in place, the Pit Lord Mannoroth was instructed to give his blood to the cheftains of the orc clans to drink to show their loyalty to the Burning Legion. Most Orc cheftains drank the blood which caused their minds to be altered and a strange bloodlust decended upon them, with their new power and lust for death and destruction the Orcs destroyed any Dranei in their path and their main city of Shattrath. Many Dranei were killed and many of those who did not fall to the Orcs bloodlust were infected by the fel energy of the new Orc warlocks and became corrupted.

Now hungry for more, Gul’dan with the help of Medivh of Azeroth, who was possessed by Sargeras at the time, opened the Dark Portal linking Draenor and Azeroth. Gul’dan saw a whole new world for the taking and this was exactly what Sargaras wanted. The Orcs went through the Dark Portal and destroyed anything in their path including leaving Stormwind in ruins. This was the first war and the Orcs had triumphed. But their victory was short-lived, the races of Azeroth rallied, the humans, elves and dwarves formed the Alliance of Lordaeron and thus began the second war. In the second war the Alliance pushed back the Burning Legion and attempted to close the Dark Portal, through the efforts of the Alliance it looked like the Portal had been destroyed, however a small tear between the worlds remained that could not be closed.

On the other side of the Dark Portal, now cut off from Azeroth, the clans fought against each other, unable to quell the bloodlust and with no enemies to fight – something had to be done. Ner’zhul, who had been injured during the destruction of the Dark Portal, was visited by the Orc deathknight Teron Gorefiend. Gorefiend had a plan to open more portals on Draenor to other worlds, but he needed two things: Ner’zhul to lead the horde once more and some rare artifacts – from Azeroth. Ner’zhul agreed to the plan and recovered the artifacts, but he was followed back to Draenor by the Alliance who sought to retrieve them, unfortunately the party from the Alliance were too late and Ner’zhul had already started to open portals to other worlds and by doing this Ner’zhul was destroying Draenor, the planet was literally ripping itself apart under the strain. The Alliance could only do one thing, they needed to break the link between Draenor and Azeroth before it was too late and both planets were destroyed. Ner’zhul quickly abandoned the horde and escaped through one of the portals just before the planet was ripped apart sending pieces of the shattered planet to float in the Twisting Nether, the Alliance party sent through the Dark Portal were presumed dead. The bits of Draenor that remained became Outland and though many perished in the destruction, those that survived lived on.

Years later, the Dark Portal between Azeroth and Outland was re-opened, but there was little for anyone in Outland anymore and the draenei were happy to remain on Azeroth with their newfound Alliance allies.

March 12, 2014

Pre-purchase Warlords of Draenor Now and get a Level-90 Character Boost

Warlords of Draenor graphic from battle.net

You know you are going to upgrade to the next World of Warcraft expansion, so why not take advantage of the free character boost now – usually £40.00/$60.00 from the battle.net shop. Be one of the first to play through levels 91-100 and get the added bonus of upgrading all your professions to 600 if you choose to boost a character that is level 60 or higher. The standard edition is priced at £34.99/$49.99 and the digital deluxe edition at £49.99/$69.99

  • Drop into the action at level 90
  • Build and customize your own Garrison
  • All-new character models and animations
  • Unleash powerful new abilities
  • Brave the untamed orc home world of Draenor

 
Upgrade to the Digital Deluxe edition and enhance your adventures in Draenor with epic in-game items including the Dread Raven mount, StarCraft II portraits of Grommash Hellscream and Blackhand and a Diablo III Warsong Pennant.

Boosting a character couldn’t be easier and Blizzard have put together a quick video to show you how:

Warlords of Draenor is expected to release on or before 12/20/2014.

March 12, 2014

Diablo III patch 2.0.3 is now live in Europe

D3 patch graphic from battle.net

Diablo III patch 2.0.3 is now live in Europe. Check out the patch notes below for the latest changes.
Source: battle.net

GENERAL

  • The area of effect for the Fire Trenches in the Halls of Agony now better match their animations
    • There is now a short delay before Fire Trench damage is dealt
  • Followers
    • Enchantress
      • Bug Fix: Fixed an issue where Erosion was causing Electrified to proc too frequently

BOSSES

  • Act Bosses now always drop a rare quality item
  • The Skeleton King no longer drops a Legendary item after using the “Reset Quests” button for level 60 characters
    • This bonus has been moved to Diablo for level 60 characters

CLASSES

  • Wizard
    • Active Skills
      • Hydra
        • Bug Fix: Hydras should now properly dissipate when the owner dies or leaves the game
      • Familiar
        • Increased the internal cooldown attack rate to roughly match the player’s attack speed to a maximum of approximately 2 attacks per second.
      • Magic Weapon
        • Skill Rune – Deflection
          • Added an internal cooldown to the proc rate to be roughly once per attack

CRAFTING

  • Blacksmithing
    • Level 1-60 crafted Legendary and Set pieces now require 2 Fiery Brimstones to craft
    • All low level crafted Legendary and Set pieces now require at least 1 Demonic Essence to craft
    • Bug Fix: Fixed an issue where Legendary crafting recipes were rolling Rare level stats
      • In addition, a pass was made to ensure all Legendary crafted items are rolling with 6 total affixes

ITEMS

  • New Affix: +Max Spirit for Monks
    • This affix rolls on Fist Weapons, Spirit Stones, and Combat Staves

February 22, 2014

Heroes of the Storm in Beta Testing

Powerful warriors from Azeroth, Sanctuary, the Koprulu sector and beyond have been sucked into the Nexus, a trans-dimensional storm. Stranded in the Nexus, these heroes engage in an endless battle for glory and survival.

Heroes Game Screenshot

Heroes of the Storm will be a free-to-play online team brawler for PC and Mac, starring your favourite Blizzard characters. The game is currently in beta testing as of 2014 and although Blizzard do not yet have a release date, they say that they should be in a better position to announce this after beta testing has started.

The game allows you to build and customise heroes from across every Blizzard universe to suit your play style. Team up with your friends and engage in fast-paced action across varied battlegrounds that impact strategy and change the way you play the game. In each match you can select from an array of Blizzard heroes and join a team to battle against enemy players, with the ultimate goal of destroying the enemy base.

Summon all your favourite characters: Thrall, Kerrigan, Diablo, Arthas, Zeratul, Tyrael and others from more than 20 years of Blizzard games. In Heroes of the Storm, players are distinguished through the accomplishments and overall success of their team. Every role is valuable and viable over the course of each match, and every player benefits from each hero takedown and each epic victory they contribute to. The battlegrounds in Heroes of the Storm mix up the experience with a variety of maps and advantages that you can unlock including powerful allies, friendly towns, and valuable vantage points offering multiple paths to victory and that reward teamwork, strategy, and creativity.

Heroes of the Storm Roles

This ‘team brawler’ is now available for beta sign-up via battle.net and for updates about the game and it’s expected release date keep an eye on the official website: http:/www.heroesofthestorm.com. You can also follow the game on Twitter @BlizzHeroes, and on the official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/BlizzHeroes.

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