Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Azeroth in 5 :: January 29th, 2014



We are now available on Soundcloud, via iTunes and Stitcher. The next episode is scheduled for February 5th.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Azeroth in 5 :: January 22nd, 2014 TRANSCRIPT

This is Azeroth in 5 for the seven days up to Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014.

The last week saw some welcome news for those players waiting for Warlords of Draenor: the expansion will be offered for pre-order online with a free L90 character available for immediate play, before the new addition itself is launched. Blizzard confirmed Thursday there will be a Normal plus a Digital 'Collectors Edition' available for pre-purchase as was the case with Mists of Pandaria: the latter will include a free vanity pet and mount as well as the game itself. As yet it is not clear what other secondary abilities your L90 will be provided with, if any, but Cory Stockton confirmed via tweet at the weekend that riding skill would be supplied as part of the package. Thursday also saw the release of a new player mount, the Iron Skyreaver, which is now available not only for purchase in-game but also via the store, allowing players to gift it to others. Finally there was a significant upgrade the same day of both the US and EU Warcraft Community Forums to improve ease of access and clarity for users.

Raiders were given advanced warning via Ion Hazzikostas, Blizzard's Lead Encounter Designer, of Blizzard's intention to reduce difficulty on a number of Heroic Siege of Orgrimmar boss encounters with this week's US and EU resets: this included changes to Galakras, Thok the Bloodthirsty, Siegecrafter Blackfuse and the Paragons of the Klaxxi. Hazzikostas deliberately gave raiders this early notice so that those who wished to attempt the encounters pre-nerf could do so in plenty of time before the changes were applied. Yesterday a number of Hotfixes were also applied to the Flexible and Normal versions of the same encounters, plus some alterations to various abilities that were not operating correctly against targets with a greater than 75% reduction to damage from armor. There was also a sneak preview late last night of a new mount, similar in appearance to Anzu, but possessing the ability to fly. Server merges continued unabated in the US, with another group of connected realms being organised during scheduled downtime this coming Thursday between 5am and 1pm PST. The offer of free character transfers on selected US Realms has also been extended until January 24th.

Cory Stockton aka Mumper on Twitter, took to the social networking platform Saturday where he was very keen to discuss the upcoming Garrisons feature for Warlords. Included in his communications were the possibilities of Portals being included to capitals as well as a confirmed flight point, the ability to utilise all gathering professions even if your character does not have the appropriate skills to do so, and the opportunity to display not only monuments to in-game achievements but your favourite vanity pets and mounts in their appropriate stables area. Stockton reiterated the importance of the upcoming Beta in testing these new features, and that Blizzard are keen to deliver the Expansion to players as soon as possible.

In server news, both the US and EU have experienced scheduled downtime between 5am-11am in their appropriate time zones.

The Lunar Festival returned to Azeroth on the 20th, There have been no changes to this Seasonal Event since last year: a reminder however that there are two faction-specific Vanity Pets available for 50 Coins of Ancestry from the Lunar Festival Vendor in Moonglade. Details of how to obtain your coins and guides as to the location of the various Elders are available via a number of popular Warcraft News and Fan sites.

And now, the scheduled Battlegrounds News. Call to Arms, Warsong Gulch continues until the 23rd. Call to Arms, Temple of Kotmogu runs from January 24th until the 27th. Call To Arms Strand of the Ancients begins on the 28th.

And finally, it has been confirmed by various sources, including the Director Duncan Jones via Twitter, that principal photography has commenced on the much-anticipated Warcraft Motion Picture, which should hit theatres in the early part of 2016. This movie has been trailed as an orcs vs. humans origin story, featuring the characters of Anduin Lothar and Durotan and will include appearances from actors including Paula Patten, Travis Fimmel and Dominic Cooper.

That was Azeroth in 5 for the seven days up to Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Azeroth in 5 :: January 15th, 2014 TRANSCRIPT

This is Azeroth in Five for the seven days up to Wednesday, January 15th, 2014.

There's been plenty of information on upcoming Expansion changes this week from Blizzard. Details have been revealed on how vanity items, the fun on use trinkets and that have increasingly filled player's bags during Mists of Pandaria will be considered for inclusion in the upcoming in-game storage 'Toybox' feature. Rygarius took to the forums with a hugely comprehensive list of items that had already been considered for the new storage medium, prompting individuals to come forward via Twitter with further additions they believed should be earmarked for consideration. Also discussed were wide-reaching changes to many aspects of PvP mechanics, including crowd control, diminishing returns, and the manner in which gear stats work differently depending on different situations and locations, which also has relevance for PvE players.

Holinka's tweets and forum posts dealt with the outright removal of certain forms of crowd control, and that all current mechanics encompassed in this category would be considered for retirement. However, Holinka stated that there are no plans to adopt a 'single' mechanic for diminishing returns as exists in games such as Star Wars: The Old Republic. There is also the possibility Blizzard will dismiss base resilience and battle fatigue as part of these changes. Finally, Lore waded into the PvP debate yesterday by announcing that gear in Warlords may well be tailored to fit specific environments: PvE gear would be better in PvE instances and against monsters one might encounter alongside enemy players, whilst PvP gear would remain better in PvP Environments and against players encountered in the world. All three Blizzard employees followed up these announcements with subsequent forum posts and qualifications via Twitter to address player concerns on the subject, with the ever-present caveat that all details are subject to change before Warlords is released.

There have been two rounds of in-game hotfixes applied this week. Most notable: Balance Druids in Moonkin form and Shadow Priests in Shadowform have seen their armour values increase from 60% to 100% whilst all abilities that are used in PvP to reduce the casting speed of enemy players were nerfed from a 25% reduction to 10%. There has been an increase in phishing attempts via email linked to fake Warlords Beta entry, and Blizzard have warned players to be on their guard, as no beta has yet been formally announced. A new callback-based Customer Support System was introduced in both the US and EU, linked to the website, allowing players to schedule a Customer representative to contact them about in-game issues. There was also a welcome announcement for players on several North American realms with high queue times at login, who will be offered Free Character Migrations starting next week.

In game design news, there was more from Chris Robinson, Blizzard's Senior Art Director, on the state of character models for Warlords, with hints of both new skins and hairstyles for perusal. Players were informed via Twiter that this current work in progress should be available to view within the next two weeks, (but it is not clear at present as to the form this reveal would likely take.) There are also some indications of potential changes to professions from several sources, including the possibility that Archaeology may be about to undergo a reboot similar to to the one afforded to Blacksmithing back in Patch 5.2.

Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas made his Debut on Twitter this week under the guise of WatcherDev (all one word) where he began discussing game design, proposed ideas and hinted via a Tweet that Blizzard may yet consider increasing the cap on Flex Raiding from 20 to 30 people. Meanwhile, Senior Blizzard Game Designer Jonathan LeCraft, TheCrafticus on Twitter, sent out an interesting request to the player base for individuals to propose new species of battle pets to be considered for inclusion in Warlords: suggestions he received included peacocks, boars, miniature versions of Hunter's Spirit Beasts and, perhaps not surprisingly, corgis.

In server news, the US saw rolling restarts at 5am Pacific standard time on Tuesday. The EU Realms will be offline from 5am CET Wednesday and services should be available again at approximately 11.00am CET. A number of English, French and German realms have also been successfully merged overnight, however the PvP Realms Bloodfeather and Kor’gall plus Burning Steppes and Executus will require more time to complete and have subsequently been rescheduled.

There is no Seasonal Event running this week in game, but this is a reminder that the Lunar Festival begins on January 20th.

And now, the regular Battleground Reminders: Call to Arms, Alterac Valley runs until January 15th. Call To Arms, Silvershard Mines runs from January 16th until January 20th. Call to Arms Warsong Gulch begins on January 21st.

This has been Azeroth in Five for the seven days up to Wednesday, January 15th, 2014.

iTunes Feed 'Coming Soon' plus Transcript News

I got confirmation yesterday that iTunes are reviewing the feed for the show, and this should hopefully mean that we'll be 'confirmed' very shortly.

There's also been a bit of an issue with the Script/Transcript for yesterday's show, which I'm working on at present, and should mean the text will go up at some point later today. Apologies for the delay :D

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Azeroth in 5 :: January 15th, 2014



We are in the process of setting up this Podcast to be available via iTunes, when this is established we'll be sure to let you know. We return as scheduled on January 22nd.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Upcoming Changes

Tomorrow's Podcast will see a new opening and closing, which I'm going to try as an experiment. I'd appreciate input from everyone on the finished product as a result.

Assuming Blizzard don't drop any bombshells overnight, you can expect tomorrow's episode to be available for download after 10am GMT.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Azeroth in 5 :: January 8th, 2014 TRANSCRIPT

This is Azeroth in 5 for the seven days up to Wednesday, January 8th, 2014.

Blizzard returned to the business of blue posting on January 2nd, and since then have been active on a number of topics. Most notable has been the announcements of new connected realms for both the US and Europe (including English, French and German-speaking servers) which will roll out over this and next week.

A hotfix was applied on Monday which has seen a significant dps boost for Elemental Shaman, Hunters of all specs and Unholy and Frost Death Knights, who Blizzard felt were under-performing in relation to other classes. Holinka has announced via a tweet yesterday that there will be one more season of PvP before Mists concludes, and players can expect details on end of season rewards, timelines, & new gear to come in the near future.

Blizzard is continuing to advise players to be aware of a trojan virus which has been hidden in a fake version of the Curse Client available online, and that is capable of circumnavigating Authenticator technology.

There have been two minor hotfixes to the game client, one affecting the stats of Trade Prince Donais, the other reducing the health of certain Kor'kron mobs in the Barracks/Underhold Nexus portion of the Siege of Orgrimmar on Raid Finder difficulty.

Finally, Blizzard will be sending e-mails out this morning to anyone using parental Controls on their Battle Net accounts: a new default setting will prevent in-game purchases for accounts that have Parental Controls turned on. This includes the recently-added Warcraft in-game shop.

In Development news, having initially dismissed the possibility of introducing a cross-realm normal difficulty of the Siege for players, on the grounds it would derail the current timescale for changes, CM Zarhym has hinted via Twitter that this possibility will now be discussed with Devs on Wednesday.

There've also been more details released on the new Group Finder function that will launch with Warlords, allowing players to find or create cross-realm groups for instanced content, including raiding. Blizzard are hinting that this interface may provide raid leaders with certain options including restriction of entry using ilevel, but has stressed that this is not yet set in stone.

In other notable Twitter despatches Mumper let slip that not only will be no Epic Battle Pets introduced as of the new Expansion, but the location of your Garrison will provide a number of different decisions for the player when Warlords launches. There's also good news for players of Blood Elves and Draenei as Senior Art Director Chris Robinson confirmed in a tweet that these character models are currently on the list to be updated, but there is no current timescale available as to when this will be completed or if it will be ready in time for the Warlords launch.

In server news, the US saw rolling restarts at 5am Pacific standard. The EU Realms Trollbane/Shattered Halls/Talnivarr/Chromaggus/Daggerspine/Boulderfist (all PvP) were scheduled for their connected realms merge this morning, and as of recording this podcast all EU realms are currently up and available for play according to Blizzard's CS Twitter account.

The Darkmoon Faire rolled into Azeroth on Sunday, and will be remaining in town until Saturday 11th. Remember that by riding the Darkmoon Carousel (which will require a Darkmoon Ticket) you'll receive the one hour, time-critical 'Wheeeeee' buff which grants plus10% to both Reputation and Experience. This can be used to boost all forms of reputation gains including those on the Timeless Isle, if you are in the process of slaughtering minions of Ordos to gain favour with the Emperor. For those on the Island, a reminder that since 5.4 was launched there is a new raid boss to battle, Moonfang, who drops a variety of vanity items including a miniature Battle Pet version of itself.

There's also a reminder that the Lunar Festival begins on January 20th.

And now the regular Battleground Reminders: Call to Arms, Eye of the Storm ends January 9th, Call to Arms Twin Peaks runs from January 10th until the 13th and Call To Arms Alterac Valley begins on January 14th.

And finally, congratulations to the Pandaran Male Doubleagent, on the US Mannoroth server, who has reached L80 without ever leaving the Wandering Isle, or indeed picking a faction. This is no mean feat, as Doubleagent's only method of gaining XP has come from gathering herbs exclusively for experience. It has taken since September of 2012 for him to reach this milestone, and he has made money in this time from combining his herbalism with inscription to sell inks for cash. Doubleagent estimates it will take him six months to level from 80 to 90, and according to the player's Reddit account which documents his journey, he is intending to try for 100 as soon as Warlords is available.

Thank you for listing to this inaugural episode. We will be doing our best to report everything we believe relevant to Warcraft in the weeks that follow: if you have any comments, queries or suggestions as to how to improve the show, we'd love to hear them. Please send your mail to azerothin5 at gmail dot com.

Azeroth in 5 :: January 8th, 2014



We are in the process of setting up this Podcast to be available via iTunes, when this is established we'll be sure to let you know.

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this inaugural episode.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

What To Expect in your 5 Minutes...

It occurs to me it might be a bit of an idea to let everyone into what they're letting themselves in for when they pick up Azeroth in 5, especially if people have heard my 'normal' Podcast, Alternative Chat. This will be the news, pure and simple, and I'll be trying to achieve a number of things with each weekly podcast:

  • Accuracy of news stories.
  • Clarity of information.
  • Relevance simply to Warcraft, and not related to any of the other various Blizzard releases.

As a result, I will in the main be looking at Blizzard Blue Posts of note, and reporting of said posts from various sources. This isn't an opportunity to score exclusives or be first with the news, this is a means by which people can catch up with items they may have missed in the last seven days, and allows them to plan ahead for future developments. If an in-game event is running on a Wednesday when I record, you'll be sure to find a reference to that inside the Podcast. I'll also remind you of Call to Arms events and any special changes you can expect, including patches, hotfixes and other significant in-game changes.

Oh, and when there's an Expansion coming, you'll know about that too.

We will also provide a transcript of every episode to accompany the podcast, and will do our best to provide links to the original stories where relevant to allow you to further investigate the news at your leisure.

If you think I've missed something relevant in a broadcast, bear in mind I have a five minute window in which to report and I will do my utmost to provide everything I consider will have relevance to the widest possible player base. What I'm looking for, more than anything in these opening weeks, is feedback on the style of the broadcast and what you think I can improve/change, or indeed what you like in what you hear. For all of this, please use the following e-mail address:

azerothin5 at gmail dot com
(substitute correct punctuation here)

We look forward to reporting the news for you every week.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Introducing Azeroth in 5

Some days, there's just never enough time.

As a Warcraft GM for nearly a decade, I've found myself being the bearer of many forms of news, good and bad, to my Guild over the years. It's occurred to me that for some time there's not been one place where you can pick up what's going on without having to wade through countless webpages or take time to watch videos when you'd far rather be playing the game. Therefore the idea of 'Azeroth in 5' was born: a five minute weekly podcast that presents the previous seven day's news in five minutes, all ready to stick in your ears and take wherever you might be going.

With Azeroth in 5 you'll know about hotfixes and game changes while you drive to work, that a patch is coming and it's time to update your addons as you walk to get your lunch. Because we're only five minutes long you'll get all the news you need quickly, efficiently and without the need to wade through tons of unnecessary gubbins. We'll be launching our first episode on Wednesday January 7th, and after that we'll be available every Wednesday at 12 midday GMT (or thereabouts) to include details of Server Resets across the United States and Continental Europe. When a scheduled patch is due we'll also offer a subsidiary Podcast which will detail all the important changes you can expect to see when the game goes live in your area, allowing you to plan your playtime accordingly!

It's only five minutes of your time, through your ears and directly into your brain. Azeroth in 5 brings the news you need to know, in an easily-digestible format. We look forward to helping you keep up with the times, and ahead of the curve!