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.

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