World of Warcraft

Spotlight

Key events

16th December 2011

Blizzard announces BattleTags

19th September 2011

WOW Patch 4.3 hits PTR "soon"

7th February 2011

BlizzCon 2011 dates announced

22nd January 2009

WOW patch beset with problems

15th September 2008

WOW: Lich King date confirmed

15th September 2008

Monster WOW patch enters testing

14th August 2008

BlizzCon panels announced

12th May 2008

BlizzCon 2008 announced

26th March 2008

WOW Sunwell patch released

14th November 2007

WoW updated to 2.3

21st August 2007

MMO news updates

13th April 2007

BlizzCon 2007 details

10th January 2007

WoW TBC midnight launch plans

30th November 2006

Blizzard launches WOW stats

22nd June 2006

New WOW patch out now

6th June 2006

New WOW patch coming

5th May 2006

2005 UK Sales Review

31st March 2006

WOW downloader updated

29th March 2006

WOW gets new patch

5th January 2006

WOW - a brand new patch

15th November 2005

New WOW patch revealed

31st October 2005

Blizzard courts beta sign-ups

28th October 2005

WOW expansion revealed

12th October 2005

New World of Warcraft patch

22nd June 2005

WoW expansion on way

18th February 2005

World of Warcraft

Blizzard announces November dates for this year's BlizzCon

Blizzard has announced that this year's BlizzCon will take place on November 2nd and November 3rd, with tickets scheduled to go on sale in May.

BlizzCon 2018 will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center, California, and will feature the usual array of developer panels, Q&A sessions, cosplay, and contests. Attendees will also receive a commemorative BlizzCon goody bag containing "a cache of loot based on their favourite Blizzard games".

Tickets for the two-day event cost $199 USD and will be released in two batches. The first batch goes on sale at 7 pm PT on May 9th (that's 3am on May 10th in the UK), and the second will be made available on May 12th at 10 am PT/6pm in the UK. You can buy them here.

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World of Warcraft expansion Battle for Azeroth gets a release date

Seventh World of Warcraft expansion, Battle for Azeroth, will be released 14th August 2018.

As with previous expansions, there'll be a prologue patch released in the weeks leading up to Battle for Azeroth, according to PC Gamer. The questlines sound great. Alliance players will assault the Horde's Undercity and seek to reclaim it as Lordaeron, and the Horde will try to burn Alliance Night Elf land Teldrassil to the ground.

Faction versus faction warfare is, after all, what Battle for Azeroth is all about - a harkening back to the real-time strategy Warcraft days of old. As you progress through quests in the new archipelago zones, eventually you'll be pointed towards opposing lands and conflict there. The endlessly repeatable new island missions will even send the opposing faction towards your goal at the same time as you. And there are new 20-person vs. AI Warfronts, which are direct emulations of an RTS campaign with resources, buildings and units.

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Unpacking all the World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth details

Unpacking all the World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth details

Worldwide level-scaling! A new artifact medallion! Allied Races! Warfronts!

On Friday evening Blizzard announced a seventh expansion for World of Warcraft called Battle for Azeroth. Headline features were Warfronts, Allied Races, character-level 120, and two new zones: Zandalar and Kul Tiras. We were also briefly introduced to a very important new medallion artifact, the Heart of Azeroth, which will power up other pieces of equipment you wear. Everything was explained in more detail in subsequent panels at BlizzCon 2017, which I've watched and unpacked below.

Separately of the expansion, however (which has no release date although next autumn is probably the earmarked arrival window), patch 7.3.5 will contain two key new things: the beginnings of game-wide level-scaling, and a preview of a new, dynamic control point PvP arena.

Game-wide level-scaling adjusts enemies within minimum and maximum level boundaries for specific zones, helping retain the feel that some zones are more deadly than others.

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World PvP is making a long overdue comeback in World of Warcraft

"You might feel it hasn't been treated with the respect it deserves..."

If you played World of Warcraft when it launched you'll remember world PvP. You'll remember the impromptu battles at Tarren Mill between Horde and Alliance, or Stranglethorn Vale or Booty Bay. Unorganised fun that echoed the Orcs vs. Humans essence of Warcraft as a real-time strategy game.

New World of Warcraft expansion Battle for Azeroth announced

UPDATE 3/11/17, 11:50pm: Blizzard has shed a little more light on its forthcoming World of Warcraft expansion, Battle for Azeroth, following its whirlwind Blizzcon debut.

"The fall of the Burning Legion has set off a series of disastrous incidents that reignites the furious rivalry between the noble Alliance and the mighty Horde," explains Blizzard. "As a new age of warfare begins, Azeroth's heroes must set out on a harrowing journey in search of new allies, race to claim the world's mightiest resources to turn the tides of war, and fight on several fronts to determine which side will lead Azeroth into its uncertain future."

Battle for Azeroth will introduce two new “fabled” kingdoms: the Zandalar empire, and the kingdom of Kul Tiras. "As a champion of the Horde,” says Blizzard, you can “travel to the Zandalar empire to persuade the trolls to lend their naval might. As a defender of the Alliance, venture to the seafaring kingdom of Kul Tiras, home of Jaina Proudmoore, and rally its inhabitants to fight for your cause.”

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Battle.net renamed Blizzard Battle.net

Bigger name change rejected, new logo erected.

For nearly a year Blizzard has been threatening to change the name of its proprietary online multiplayer service Battle.net to the more on-brand Blizzard.net. That is the name of the company, after all, which would theoretically make things less confusing. However, after a scant few months under the new monicker Blizzard rethought this approach because the Battle.net name has been around for over 20 years (since the studio launched Diablo in 1996). Changing it now has led to bewilderment.

A map on a leaked World of Warcraft skirt might have revealed the next expansion location

World of Warcraft fans reckon they've worked out the location of the next expansion - using an image of a map on a leaked skirt.

Subtle clues unearthed by the WOW community suggest the next expansion is set in Kul Tiras, which indicates players will fight the Old Gods.

The World of Warcraft subreddit is currently in overdrive after World of Warcraft database website Wowhead posted information data-mined from patch 7.3, which is currently in the Public Test Realm (PTR). The new build adds new voice over files, but what is of real interest to players is a new armour set with an interesting name.

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It's been a rough couple of weeks in Chiodini's Kitchen. First came the raw dough monstrosity that was the kwama egg quiche from The Elder Scrolls Online, swiftly followed by the hideous grog from The Secret of Monkey Island. With these culinary insults coming so swiftly off the back of one another, I was in dire need of something palatable to recreate from a video game - and soon.

Always a great fondness for simpler times isn't there? For turning the dials back. It's the same in World of Warcraft, a game more than a decade old, so old it has eras. Was it really better back at the beginning? How can we objectively know? We have only memories; no way to travel back and test it. All that's available is the latest World of Warcraft build. Or is it?

Unofficial fresh-start vanilla WOW server launches Saturday

As part of the popular but unofficial vanilla (circa 2005/2006) World of Warcraft comeback, led by private projects Nostalrius and now Elysium, a brand new, fresh-start server will open this weekend. This will put everyone on a level pegging, playing as if World of Warcraft were released for the first time (albeit a few patches in).

The Elysium PvP Fresh Realm will launch Saturday, 7th January, time TBC, although the suggestion is late afternoon Euro time. Given the expected stampede, however, you may not be playing until evening.

The Nostalrius PvP and PvE servers were resurrected by Elysium in December, saved character data and all, having been closed by Blizzard's lawyers earlier in 2016. They are, after all, against Blizzard's rules. That didn't stop tens of thousands of people playing them simultaneously, however - numbers far in excess of individual, official World of Warcraft servers. Player activity overflowed and so you see the attraction.

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VideoThe mistake that made WOW's stealth work

Introducing our new weekly video series.

If you've played World of Warcraft, there's a sound effect that'll forever be embedded in your brain. A wooshing noise that triggers an immediate fight-or-flight response as you scan your screen for the stealthed rogue or druid that's about to ruin your day. It's a fantastic tell. It was also, it turns out, a mistake.

WOW: Nostalrius' return gets a release date

The famed Nostalrius vanilla World of Warcraft private servers will return, resurrected by Elysium, on Saturday 17th December.

The return follows successful stress tests that peaked this past weekend with more than 10,000 concurrent players - far in excess of anything official WoW servers offer.

Remember Tarren Mill battles in vanilla WoW? The following screenshot was taken from the recent Nostalrius stress test.

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The Nostalrius team has thrown down the gauntlet and the Nostalrius vanilla World of Warcraft experience will return - with or without Blizzard's help or permission. But not in name; Nostalrius cannot be Nostalrius for legal reasons, so it will be resurrected as part of the unofficial WoW Elysium project. The Nostalrius database, with saved character data, may even be carried across. There's no timeline but the suggestion is that work will start straight away.

Blizzard story overlord Chris Metzen retires aged 42

"I won't lie - it's going to be really hard stepping away."

Chris Metzen is retiring. He's leaving Blizzard Entertainment after more than 20 years' service. He, the overseer of story at arguably the world's most successful game maker. He, the earring-wearing cool guy on the BlizzCon stage. He, the voice of Thrall. Retiring. And he's only 42.

World of Warcraft: Legion day-one sales match series records

World of Warcraft: Legion sales are in and the sixth expansion has done well - really well.

Day-one sales were 3.3m, announced Blizzard, which matches what expansions Warlords of Draenor and Cataclysm achieved on their debuts.

What's more, the amount of players playing WOW together during Legion launch week rose to its highest point since the launch of Cataclysm all those years ago. Life in the old dog yet, eh?

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Warcraft most successful game-film, Duncan Jones up for a sequel

The Warcraft movie hasn't Thralled critics but it's doing the business globally - and director Duncan Jones is up for a sequel if it comes to it.

Globally the Warcraft movie has made $377.6m, reported Box Office Mojo, and more than $200m of that in China. That makes Warcraft the most commercially successful video-game film ever, beating previous champion Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time ($336m), which starred Jake Gyllenhaal's muscular torso.

The Angry Birds film, meanwhile - which I've watched and it isn't great - has made $327m.

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This whole Nostalrius business has been remarkable. Who would have thought a team behind a private/pirate World of Warcraft server - depending on how you look at it - would one day be invited to Blizzard for a meeting that included Mike Morhaime (CEO), J. Allen Brack (WOW executive producer), Tom Chilton (game director), Ion Hazzikostas (assistant game director) and Marco Koegler (technical director)?

The Warcraft movie is too faithful by half

The point at which we should have known that the decade-in-the-making Warcraft film (released in the UK today) wasn't going to work out was when its title was extended to Warcraft: The Beginning. Everything misguided about this production can be read into the two words after that colon. The producers' hubris in taking a future franchise as a fait accompli. This film's unsatisfying status as a set-up, rather than a main event. An admission to fans of World of Warcraft that this wouldn't quite be their Azeroth: the film turns the clock back a generation to tell, roughly, the story of the 1994 strategy game Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, and is more focused, but much reduced in scope from WOW's vivid tableau of squabbling races.

A day in real-life Azeroth

A couple of years ago, Jon Hamblin visited the set of the Warcraft movie for Eurogamer and interviewed director Duncan Jones and members of the cast and production staff. Then we had to sit on it for 18 months, because film PR is really weird.

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Blizzard responds to WOW Nostalrius pirate/private server closure

"We have been discussing classic servers for years..."

There was a to-do recently when Blizzard lawyers forced the World of Warcraft Nostalrius servers to close. They were pirate/private servers not allowed by Blizzard so they didn't have a wooden leg to stand on, yet they offered something Blizzard does not: a vanilla (pre-expansions) version of World of Warcraft for people to play. And they were popular - home to an active community of thousands of people.

World of Warcraft: Legion release date set

World of Warcraft: Legion release date set

Blizzard's sixth expansion to arrive this August.

World of Warcraft's sixth expansion, Legion, is set to launch on 30th August, Blizzard has announced.

Players can pre-order Legion and receive an instant level-100 character boost, along with early access to the new Demon Hunter class. Though the timing for when this upcoming class will be unlockable has yet to be announced, and it will require a level 70 character.

The Standard Edition of Legion goes for £34.99, while the Digital Deluxe Edition costs £49.99 and includes an Illidari Felstalker mount and pet for World of Warcraft, a Felstalker mount for Heroes of the Storm, a helm transmog and wings for Diablo 3, and a pair of fel-infused StarCraft 2 portraits.

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One of the most popular collections of pirate World of Warcraft servers, the Nostalrius servers, are being closed. Lawyers acting on behalf of Blizzard sent cease and desist letters to hosting company OVH, ordering the servers be taken down. They will close 10th April 2016 at 23:00 server time.

When hearing the worlds 'video game camera' it's hard not to imagine the free-floating, functional thing dutifully framing your character's butt as they traverse the game world. Some games, however, do things a bit differently - putting a camera into the hands of the characters themselves.

Blizzard fundamentally overhauling World of Warcraft PVP for Legion

Equipment stats nullified for battles, Honor system completely reworked. And Prestige.

Is World of Warcraft taking a leaf out of Call of Duty's book all these years after that multiplayer shooting craze began? Blizzard has just announced plans for a fundamental overhaul to player-versus-player combat for expansion World of Warcraft: Legion, which arrives on or before 21st September 2016. The plans include changing completely how PVP will reward you for playing, as well as the surprise intention - for a game based so heavily around the concept of 'better gear' - of making everyone's statistics the same for battles, regardless of equipment (although there a few exceptions - see below).

Blizzard will no longer report World of Warcraft subscriber numbers

"There are other metrics that are better indicators of the overall business."

World of Warcraft subscriber numbers have been falling for years. The online game's real high-point was 12 million subscribers as third expansion Cataclysm launched in the autumn of 2010 - five years ago - and since then numbers have steadily fallen.

Can WOW's next expansion bring its legion of lost heroes home?

Can WOW's next expansion bring its legion of lost heroes home?

The sixth expansion promises fan-service, shared thrills - and personal glory.

It's easy to take for granted what an extraordinary body of work Blizzard's Battle.net game launcher represents. By any measure of quality, profitability and breadth of creativity, Blizzard has everything most publishers could ever dream of - and yet it's never looked more vulnerable when measured against the standards of its own achievements.

StarCraft's eSports crown has long sat on another's head, while Heroes of the Storm has yet to penetrate the public consciousness in the same way that Hearthstone has managed to, and to such a remarkable degree. Hearthstone! Even this seemingly unstoppable rising star of the Blizzard family has yet to prove its longevity at a publisher where the value of franchises is measured in decades, rather than years.

What did yesterday's reveal of the Legion expansion do to bolster the foundations of World of Warcraft, the game that remains the jewel in Blizzard's crown, yet continues to suffer a slide in subscribers? Part necessary summarising of a knotted ball of unfinished business, part name-dropping fan-service, the positioning of WOW's sixth expansion felt, in truth, like a bit of a mess at first.

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World of Warcraft: Legion expansion adds new Demon Hunter class

World of Warcraft: Legion expansion adds new Demon Hunter class

Artifact weapons, The Broken Isles, new level cap of 110, more.

Blizzard has revealed the sixth expansion for World of Warcraft, titled Legion.

Legion is set on the new continent of The Broken Isles, the ruins of a Night Elf civilisation that's comprised of eight new zones. Players will quest through these regions towards a new maximum level cap of 110.

Legion also introduces Artifact weapons to the game. There are 36 such Artifacts to be hunted down - one for each class specialisation in the game. As you begin the expansion, you'll start a personal adventure that sends you on a journey to gain and enhance your Artifact.

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Watch Blizzard's reveal of the next World of Warcraft expansion here

Watch Blizzard's reveal of the next World of Warcraft expansion here

As WOW's subscriber numbers tumble, can Blizzard stop the slide?

Yesterday's media briefing by Blizzard brought us details of new Heroes and a new battleground coming to Heroes of the Storm, as well as even more mischievous mechanics for Hearthstone, but the publisher's not done with Gamescom quite yet.

At 5pm this evening there'll be a special stream to lift the lid on the sixth expansion for World of Warcraft. It's a timely announcement too, given the notable wobble in WOW's subscription numbers that was revealed in this week's financial update.

Can Blizzard find a way to convince lapsed subscribers from the past to come back home, and maintain the enthusiasm of those still playing the game in the present? How long will we have to wait until the new expansion arrives, and what exactly can we expect from the game between now and then?

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New World of Warcraft expansion to be revealed next week

New World of Warcraft expansion to be revealed next week

UPDATE: Now with additional video speculation. Whither BlizzCon?

Update, 4.40pm: In the video below, Oli Welsh and Chris Bratt get together for an additional round of the speculation that Blizzard obsessives so enjoy. Why has the announcement of this expansion been brought forward from its traditional, biennial BlizzCon slot? Are Blizzard looking to release smaller expansions more frequently? If it's not going to be WOW, what might Blizzard's big reveal at its November fan convention be? Oli and Bratterz don't know, but they have fun guessing!

Original story, 10am: Blizzard will announce a new World of Warcraft expansion next week.

A WOW event at Gamescom will be streamed on Thursday, 6th August at 5pm UK time.

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Soar over Azeroth in the Warcraft movie's interactive VR trailer

Soar over Azeroth in the Warcraft movie's interactive VR trailer

See all 360 degrees of Stormwind from aboard a gryphon.

George Lucas' famous special effects studio, Industrial Light & Magic, has whipped up a heck of an interactive trailer for the upcoming Warcraft movie.

Released on YouTube, this Skies of Azeroth trailer lets viewers look around the world in 360 degrees by dragging their cursor. Think Google Earth, only way more seamless (and, ya know, Azeroth).

Set atop a flying gryphon, you can only view the sprawling city of Stormwind from above, but what a view it is! Now if only the real World of Warcraft looked that good in game form.

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World of Warcraft's Fury of Hellfire patch out 23rd June

World of Warcraft's Fury of Hellfire patch out 23rd June

New raids, features and progression tools out next week.

World of Warcraft's next major patch comes out 23rd June, according to a post on the game's official site yesterday evening.

Patch 6.2 adds plenty of new content to to the game, from the new questing zone of Tanaan Jungle, to the opening of the new Hellfire Citadel raid. Shipyards are also being added to player's privately-owned Garrisons, while the new Timewalking feature allows old veterans to return to old dungeons, and enjoy them at an appropriately retuned difficulty setting - and with appropriately retuned rewards as well. Yum.

Timewalking is just one part of a series of special, rotating events that will crop up in the game following the release of the patch. Other calendared events include increased Honour gains when competing in Battlegrounds or Arenas, more faction rep for completing Draenor dungeons, or more experience for your pets when you send them into battle.

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The very first screenshots of World of Warcraft

And of the 60-person team that built it.

Blizzard recruitment marketing manager Dave Wilson has provided a fascinating turn-of-the-millennia look back at original World of Warcraft development, including sharing the very first screenshot of the genre-conquering online game.

WOW: Leeroy Jenkins happened 10 years ago

A video that became a meme that became legend.

10 years ago (10th May 2005) a video was posted to the World of Warcraft forum as evidence of a raid being too hard. No one could have imagined the effect it would have.

WoW Tokens launch tomorrow in Europe

WoW Tokens launch tomorrow in Europe

30 days for £15 or auctioned off at 35K gold.

WoW Tokens will be going live in Europe as of 5pm CEST tomorrow, 21st April, Blizzard has announced.

They'll be available from the in-game shop for £15 / €20, and bids for them in the Auction House will start at 35K gold. Comparatively, they launched in the Americas earlier this month for $20 or 30,000 gold.

For those unfamiliar with WoW Tokens, they grant players 30 days of game access. Players can purchase them with real world currency from the in-game store, then auction them off for in-game currency. This gives dedicated players a way to buy more game-time without spending real money, while folks with less free time and more money can use these Tokens as a way of buying more gold without resorting to an unofficial third-party dealer, something that's against the game's rules.

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Blizzard announces Timewalking feature for World of Warcraft

Blizzard announces Timewalking feature for World of Warcraft

Conquer old dungeons at an increased difficulty for max-level loot.

Have you ever wanted to take in the sights and sounds of old Azeroth's dungeons at Level 100, but do so without pinging out-levelled bosses with a single hit? In a post on World of Warcraft's official website last night, Blizzard has revealed that you'll soon be able to do exactly that by using a new Timewalking feature.

It works like this. As part of a whole series of weekend events being planned for the game, you'll occasionally be able to participate in Timewalking weekends. During these special events, you'll be able to queue up for one of WOW's myriad old-school dungeons using the game's dungeon finder, and tackle the content with the team that's formed.

When you enter the dungeon, however, each character in the party will have their power and equipment scaled down drastically, ensuring that the dungeon presents a worthy challenge. Even more intriguing is Blizzard's plans for the loot - whatever weapons and armour you scoop from the bosses during the visit will be scaled up when you leave, ensuring you have a level 100-appropriate reward for your efforts.

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WoW: Warlords of Draenor's next patch adds ship-building

WoW: Warlords of Draenor's next patch adds ship-building

And an extra challenging Mythic difficulty for Draenor dungeons.

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor's upcoming 6.2 patch will add a brand new ship-building feature along with tons of other additions.

As detailed on the Battle.net update notes, this next patch will add shipyards, which can only be constructed by characters with a level three Garrison. Once a shipyard is erected you can build your own ships and dispatch them on naval missions.

There will also be a new Tanaan Jungle zone that can only be accessed via sea, so it requires a shipyard.

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World of Warcraft, nine years later: Can I get a res?

A guild leader and raid leader returns.

World of Warcraft turned ten on Sunday, and through the week we've been marking the anniversary with a series of features from across Eurogamer's editorial team. John's already taken us through the game's finest dungeon - not to mention its toughest achievement - now Bertie sets out to discover if you can ever really go back.

Desperately seeking Salty: A WOW fishing tale

One man's decade-long quest to become the ultimate digital fisherman.

World of Warcraft turned ten on Sunday, and all throughout this week we'll be marking the anniversary with a series of features from across Eurogamer's editorial team. Having taken you through the game's finest dungeon, today John tells the tale of how he bagged WOW's most elusive achievement.

Warlords of Draenor sales take WOW subs back up over 10 million

Fifth World of Warcraft expansion, Warlords of Draenor, has done the business. Monthly subscribers to the MMO once more number over 10 million, Blizzard has announced, and in 24 hours more than 3.3m copies of the expansion have been sold.

Those day-one sales match, exactly, what third WOW expansion Cataclysm managed in November 2010. Fourth expansion, Mists of Pandaria, took a week to reach 2.7m sales in 2012.

The last time Blizzard reported more than 10 million WOW subscribers was in September 2011 (10.3 million) - but even then, numbers were on their way down.

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WOW's executive producer apologises for Warlords of Draenor launch issues

WOW's executive producer apologises for Warlords of Draenor launch issues

Subscribers to be gifted five free days of playtime as compensation.

World of Warcraft's executive producer J. Allen Brack has apologised on the official forums for the launch issues that have blighted the game since the release of the Warlords of Draenor expansion last week. Subscribers will also be offered five free days of playtime as compensation.

Many players have experienced excessive queues when attempting to log in to the game, and the expansion's new Garrison feature has left many players unable to progress through the storyline, or make progress within the player-housing feature.

"I know how much everyone was looking forward to this expansion, and once you were able to get in and start having fun, all the comments I've seen indicate that this is one of our best yet. But the quality of the content does not excuse the subpar launch experience we delivered, and I apologize for that," the statement begins.

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World of Warcraft turned ten on Sunday, and all throughout this week we'll be marking the anniversary with a series of features from across Eurogamer's editorial team. Today, John reminisces on the game's early raiding scene, and pays tribute to one of Blizzard's greatest dungeons.

Five talking points from World of Warcraft's 6.0.2 patch

Five talking points from World of Warcraft's 6.0.2 patch

What to expect as the game approaches its second decade.

Before every new WOW expansion there's a patch which lays the foundation for the next round of adventuring in Azeorth and beyond. This week's release of Patch 6.0.2 introduces extensive changes to the game's combat stats, plenty of interface tweaks across the board, and a new dungeon and quest-line to help players get accustomed to the Warlords of Draenor expansion before it arrives next month. Here's what jumped out at us as while we were poking around in the new content.

A rather uninspiring quest-line introduces WOW's next chapter

WOW's questing has come on leaps and bounds since 2004, but there's still an overwhelming dependence on point-to-point adventuring. While it serves a certain purpose nevertheless, there's nothing about the brief quest-line which introduces the next chapter of the game's grand story that suggests things will be radically different in Warlords of Draenor. The Iron Horde are storming through the Blasted Lands' Dark Portal to make their first tentative claims on Azeroth, and you're part of the vanguard monitoring the enemy's arrival.

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World of Warcraft Patch 6.0.2 release date revealed

World of Warcraft Patch 6.0.2 release date revealed

Warlords of Draenor world event and new dungeon hits servers this week.

The pre-release patch for Warlords of Draenor, the fifth World of Warcraft expansion, launches in the US tomorrow, with the EU version arriving on Wednesday.

The hefty update, which lays the groundwork for the next few years of adventuring in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game, packs in plenty of changes as WOW approaches its second decade of service. (The last time we checked our background downloader there was still another 8GB of data left to go, so if you've switched off automatic downloading in the past, you might want to think about re-enabling it ahead of launch.)

This time around, the traditional pre-expansion world event sees the legions of the Iron Horde invading Azeroth through the Dark Portal, and you'll be able to pop along when the patch goes live and bop a few of them on the chin.

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Looking for the wow factor in Warlords of Draenor

We talk to the expansion's lead designer about simplifying complexity.

In a little over a month from now, World of Warcraft's fifth expansion will be released. Titled Warlords of Draenor, the new expansion raises the level cap to 100, introduces a new garrison system to give players a permanent sense of place in the world, and ushers in the usual feast of new dungeons, raids and player-versus-player content.

Robin Williams tribute spotted live in Warlords of Draenor beta

A couple of weeks back we reported on a series of Robin Williams references datamined in the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion Warlords of Draenor. Now, some of these tributes have been spotted live in the add-on's beta.

As discovered by the folks at Wowhead, there's a genie named Robin on an island off of Talador's coast. You summon him by rubbing an "ever-burning lamp," at which point he'll appear and exclaim "Infinite cosmic power!" After that, he'll shrink, wave goodbye and murmur "itty bitty living space."

Near the genie is a large broken egg, referencing Mork, and Wowhead datamined an asset of a man in overalls believed to represent television's favourite alien (sorry, ALF). Other datamined assets include a third Robin dressed like Mrs. Doubtfire and some stuffed animals and tanks referencing the movie Toys.

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It appears Blizzard will be paying tribute to the comedian and actor Robin Williams, who died this week, by immortalising him in World of Warcraft. Williams, an avid video game fan who named his daughter after the Nintendo character Princess Zelda, was said to play the game as well as its predecessor Warcraft 3.

Blizzard warns WoW players to watch out for a Trojan

UPDATE: It came from a fake version of Curse Client.

UPDATE: The culprit has been found and it's apparently a false version of the Curse Client that's been sneaking the Trojan onto people's systems. Remove the client and run Malwarebytes and that should do the trick.

NSA, GCHQ can listen to Xbox Live chat communications

UPDATE: Microsoft insists alleged spying "wasn't done with our consent".

UPDATE #2: Microsoft has spoken out against the government surveillance of its customers and joined other technology giants such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Twitter by signing a jointly-authored document entitled 'Global Government Surveillance Reform'.

Is Warlords of Draenor the next WOW expansion?

Is Warlords of Draenor the next WOW expansion?

Time travel, Grom Hellscream and Kil'Jaeden?

Warlords of Draenor could be the name of the next World of Warcraft expansion, which will presumably be unveiled this Friday at the opening ceremony of BlizzCon.

The name, Warlords of Draenor, was successfully trademarked by Blizzard last Friday (spotted by MMO Champion). The website Warlords of Draenor.com was registered a month ago.

There's speculation from an unverified source that Warlords of Draenor will feature Grom Hellscream as the main villain and feature heavy use of time travel.

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Every week we bring you an article from our archive, either for you to discover for the first time or enjoy again. Today, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of World of Warcraft and to kickstart a week of celebration on the site, we bring you Oli Welsh's take on Blizzard's defining MMO, originally published as part of our series on games of the generation..

What is Heroes of the Storm?

Blizzard files new trademark. Speculation ensues.

Blizzard has filed a new trademark for something called Heroes of the Storm. The applications, filed in New Zealand last week and Canada yesterday, were spotted by a fan posting as Darrowshire at the MMO Champion forums.

Warcraft movie gets an official release date

Warcraft movie gets an official release date

Can you wait until Christmas 2015?

The long-awaited Warcraft movie has been given a release date, the game's official Twitter has announced.

"We're pleased to announce that @Legendary Pictures' WARCRAFT will be released by @UniversalPics on December 18, 2015" read the tweet. That places it in the festive fantasy blockbuster slot that proved enormously successful for several of the Harry Potter films, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

The film has been in development since 2006. Spider-Man and Evil Dead director Sam Raimi came aboard as director in 2009, but left the project rather acrimoniously in 2012 claiming that Blizzard's "mismanagement" had left him and screenwriter Robert Rodat working on a script that the publisher hadn't approved.

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Blizzard unleashes entertaining WOW patch 5.4 trailer

World of Warcraft patch 5.4 is "nearly here" and Blizzard has unleashed the trailer.

Dubbed Siege of Orgrimmar, it follows the story of Horde Warchief Garrosh Hellscream who's gone a bit batty and now wants to form a new Horde with the nightmarish powers he's unleashed.

The trailer shows a fight between Hellscream and a brave Pandaren blocking his way. It sets the scene nicely.

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World of Warcraft Connected Realms to launch after Patch 5.4

World of Warcraft Connected Realms to launch after Patch 5.4

To combat "less-than-optimal play experience" for those on less popular realms.

Blizzard will add Connected Realms to massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft some time after the release of Patch 5.4.

A Connected Realm is a set of two or more standard realms that have been permanently linked and behave as if they were one cohesive realm.

If you're playing on a Connected Realm you'll be able to join the same guilds, access a single Auction House, run the same raids and dungeons and join other players to complete quests.

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Blizzard confirms in-game micro-transactions for World of Warcraft

Blizzard confirms in-game micro-transactions for World of Warcraft

But controversial levelling, charm buffs just for Asian regions "at the outset".

Blizzard will add in-game micro-transactions to its massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft.

Community manager Bashiok confirmed the news on Battle.net last night following reports last week that the introduction of an in-game store was imminent.

Players were left concerned at the nature of the items Blizzard was testing, including "convenience-based items" such as buffs to aid levelling. The developer has now confirmed that such items will initially only be available in Asian regions.

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Have traditional MMOs had their time?

And what do we make of the shared-world games and MOBAs that have risen up to replace them?

Traditional MMOs have gone out of fashion lately. It used to be that every gaming brand had exciting untapped MMO potential and every publisher wanted an MMO in its stable, but the gold rush inspired by World of Warcraft yielded little precious metal, and a lot of publishers got burned in the process - especially Electronic Arts with Star Wars: The Old Republic - while the term "MMO" has become taboo when discussing a new breed of games that includes The Division and Destiny, even though in many respects they are both massively multiplayer and online.

BlizzCon 2013 announced for early November

BlizzCon 2013 announced for early November

Diablo 3 and WOW expansions? Blizzard All-Stars?

Blizzard has announced the dates for BlizzCon 2013. They are Friday, 9th November and Saturday, 10th November.

There was no BlizzCon last year, but in 2011 the event took place in October.

This year's event will likely be the time and place for Blizzard to show a Diablo 3 expansion, another World of Warcraft expansion and, hopefully, Blizzard All-Stars, the DOTA game.

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Battle.net has been hacked, e-mails compromised

Blizzard advises players on North American servers change their passwords.

Battle.net - Blizzard's online service that stores personal and financial data for players of games such as Diablo 3 and World of Warcraft - was recently hacked, the developer confirmed.

World of Warcraft movie gets a new writer

Penned by the man behind Blood Diamond and The Mighty.

The fate of the World of Warcraft movie was in turnmoil following Sam Raimi leaving the director's chair to helm Oz: The Great and Powerful, but Legendary Entertainment is still pushing ahead by hiring screenwriter Charles Leavitt, Variety reports.

Blizzard announces 600 redundancies

Blizzard announces 600 redundancies

90% of those affected "not related to game development".

World of Warcraft developer Blizzard has announced a major round of lay-offs, with around 600 employees now out of a job.

It added that 90 per cent of those affected are "not related to game development" and that the World of Warcraft development team is not affected at all.

CEO Mike Morhaime attributed the cuts to wider changes in the way the games industry operates.

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Building Better Worlds - an MMO Tale

From the archive: If you come at the king, you best not miss.

Every Sunday we bring you an article from our archive, either for you to enjoy for the first time or for you to discover again. This week, with Blizzard's latest World of Warcraft expansion going strong and as we await the launch of Elite Dangerous, we return to John Bedford's opinion piece from 2012 on how to build better worlds.

Cross-realm World of Warcraft raids in patch 4.3.2

Cross-realm World of Warcraft raids in patch 4.3.2

Tackle raids or Battlegrounds.

Gamers from different World of Warcraft realms (servers) will be able to raid together when patch 4.3.2 is implemented, Blizzard has revealed.

You and your Battle.net Real ID friends can take on "older" normal or heroic raids as well as use Raid Finder.

You can form Battleground raids, too.

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Blizzard announces BattleTags

Blizzard announces BattleTags

A unified nickname for players on Battle.net.

Blizzard has announced BattleTags - unified nicknames that identify players across all of Battle.net.

Your BattleTag is used in Blizzard games, on Blizzard websites and in Blizzard forums.

BattleTags are similar to the controversial Real ID system (but will not replace it), and gives players a new way to manage public profiles, find and chat with friends they've met while playing, form groups and stay connected across Blizzard games, the company said.

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World of Warcraft patch 4.3 Hour of Twilight notes

World of Warcraft patch 4.3 Hour of Twilight notes

Deathwing death! Class changes! New things!

Update: The official World of Warcraft website is down, but the WOW Wiki has all of the 4.3 changes to peruse.

Original story: Blizzard has unleashed the full patch notes for World of Warcraft version 4.3, Hour of Twilight.

This is the climactic Cataclysm patch that includes a showdown with mega-dragon Deathwing. To beat him, you must travel back through time to the War of the Ancients, to when Deathwing - then Neltharion the Earth-Warder - and the other Dragon Aspects were created to protect the world of Azeroth.

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Blizzard's Mike Morhaime Interviewed

The boss talks pandas, free-to-play and the clash of the DOTAs.

This interview appears simultaneously on Eurogamer and on our sister trade site, GamesIndustry.biz.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Preview

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Preview

Can pandas and Pokémon save WOW from itself?

You can hardly say that World of Warcraft is fighting for survival. Blizzard's online world approaches its seventh birthday in the same position of total dominance over subscription gaming that it's held since the servers were turned on.

But with every year that passes, the pressures on it increase - from big-ticket rivals like Star Wars: The Old Republic, the busy gaggle of free-to-play games, and from untamed community hits like League of Legends and Minecraft which seem to be able to summon tens of millions of players out of nowhere.

Nevertheless, WOW's greatest enemy by far is itself. Or, perhaps, it's its age. It's been a long time, now - for all of us.

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The Hero Factory: Conversations with Chris Metzen

As he retires from his position as Blizzard's head writer.

Blizzard's head writer and lore guru - or senior vice president of story and franchise development to his friends - Chris Metzen has just announced his retirement. To mark the moment, here's a profile of the man we originally published on 20th October 2011.

Blizzard sells server blades for charity

Blizzard sells server blades for charity

Original WOW hardware up for grabs.

Blizzard is auctioning a number of server blades used in the early days its hugely successful World of Warcraft MMO.

Around 2000 original Hewlett Packard ProLiant blades that once housed 500 hundred Warcraft different realms across North America and Europe are being sold off.

Net proceeds go to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, one of the world's premier centers for the research and treatment of pediatric cancer and other catastrophic childhood diseases.

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WOW Guardian Cub enables gold buying

"Safe, secure" alternative to 3rd parties.

The new World of Warcraft Guardian Cub can be bought at the Pet Store using real money, then sold in-game at the auction house to make WOW money.

Why subs-based MMOs have a future

Mythic founder senses shift away from F2P.

An F2P-only future for the MMO genre is anything but a foregone conclusion, reckons Mythic founder and former CEO Mark Jacobs.

WOW Patch 4.3 hits PTR 

WOW Patch 4.3 hits PTR "soon"

"Within a couple of weeks."

World of Warcraft Patch 4.3 will be added to the Public Test Realm (PTR) "within a couple of weeks", Blizzard has told Eurogamer.

The words spilled from lead game designer Tom Chilton during an interview with Eurogamer Germany (translated and posted on Eurogamer this morning).

"We should be on the Public Test Realm soon, within a couple of weeks," he said.

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Killing Deathwing in WOW Patch 4.3

Killing Deathwing in WOW Patch 4.3

Blizzard's Tom Chilton tells us all about it.

In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the ancient and powerful Dragon Aspect known as Deathwing returned to and laid waste to the world of Azeroth. He, once known as Neltharion, was created by god-like Titans along with four other Dragon Aspects to watch over the land of Kalimdor. But the roaming terrors of the universe, the Old Gods, made Deathwing go mad.

Now you, in patch 4.3, get to finally face and fight Deathwing. He, it, is the most powerful thing in World of Warcraft, so killing Deathwing will be far more complicated - and dramatic - than an upfront head-to-head. Just imagining the loot from such a monumental encounter is enough to stimulate millions of saliva glands around the world.

While the Deathwing fight - the culmination of the Deathwing raids - may be the focus, it is by no means the only attraction of Patch 4.3. These patches are closer to mini-expansions than they are bug-squashing updates. Patch 4.3 also brings the intriguing new ability to Transmogrify your armour and weaponry to resemble other pieces of armour or weaponry. You could have a Tier 10 set of armour look like a Tier 1 set of armour. You could even have High Warlord armour look like Tier 1 armour. How will that play out?

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Saturday Soapbox: The Scourge of Free to Play*

*A small cover charge may apply.

It was Oblivion's horse armour that set the alarm bells off for me. There was a mixture of amusement and incredulity, which quickly descended into horror as the numbers started rolling in. It was the beginning of a fragmentation from the boxed product you'd scurried away from the shops to greedily indulge yourself in, towards one where a breadcrumb trail of further expenditure lay between you and completion of an adventure.

World of Warcraft patch 4.2 live today

World of Warcraft patch 4.2 live today

Ragnaros! Tier 12! Season 10! Dragonwrath!

World of Warcraft patch 4.2, Rage of the Firelands, goes live today.

The update brings outdoor raid Firelands and with it reinvigorated Molten Core boss Ragnaros. There are new Tier 12 epic class armour sets (warlock, warrior and hunter are very nice) and a chance for one lucky caster to slowly piece together and level up the legendary staff Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest.

PVP pursuers can enjoy new Season 10 armour (hunter, death knight and shaman variations are very nice) as well as new PVP mounts an armoured wolf and armoured horse.

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Blizzard interested in iOS devices

"If we could make the right game changes."

Blizzard's Greg Street - aka Ghostcrawler on the World of Warcraft forums - has spoken to Eurogamer about the appeal of iOS devices within Blizzard and the potential for mobile MMO gaming.

Blizzard talks Titan development

WOW and Titan teams discuss ideas.

In an interview with Eurogamer World of Warcraft lead systems designer Greg Street discussed the development process behind Blizzard's next-gen MMO, codenamed Project Titan.

Is video game addiction causing divorce?

Eurogamer investigates Daily Mail report.

A study conducted by Divorce Online, reported in the Daily Mail this morning, suggests that 15 per cent of divorce proceedings initiated with the company are a result of video game addiction.

Firelands WOW 4.2 patch notes

Firelands WOW 4.2 patch notes

Cataclysm dungeons nerfed?

World of Warcraft patch 4.2 has gone live on the public test realm. The patch notes have been released.

The headline attraction is Firelands, a huge outdoor raid "of the highest difficulty" for 10 or 25 people in either normal or Heroic modes. Firelands takes place in the Elemental plane and puts six bosses between you and a new, "reinvigorated" Ragnaros.

Patch 4.2 adds a new epic quest to complete the legendary staff Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest. Aside from super stats, the staff bestows its owner with the ability to transform into a member of the Blue Dragonflight - i.e. a dragon, in other words. All friends or guildmembers that help with the quest will receive a new pet.

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Blizzard details Warcraft 4.2 update

Blizzard details Warcraft 4.2 update

Firelands, encounter journal, new quests due.

World of Warcraft's 4.2 update will include a new raid, a new encounter journal feature, a new quest line and a new legendary weapon, Blizzard has revealed.

Due out later this year, the focus of the patch will be the new Firelands raid, which sees you entering the domain of powerful Elemental Lord Ragnaros. The zone will feature seven different boss fights.

"Some players first encountered Ragnaros in Molten Core but that was inside a mountain on Azeroth," lead system designer Greg Street told Eurogamer.

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Blizzard: WOW housing may never happen

Keeps falling off to-do list.

The mighty World of Warcraft has everything - everything, that is, but player housing. And now game producer J Allen Brack has told Eurogamer that it might never happen - WOW could be without player housing forever.

WOW patch 4.1 revamps Zul'Gurub/Aman

WOW patch 4.1 revamps Zul'Gurub/Aman

Back as five-man, level 85 affairs.

Old World of Warcraft raids Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman are being reincarnated as level 85 heroic five-man dungeons.

They'll return in new patch 4.1, according to leaked notes on a Taiwanese website (correlated by MMO Champion).

Epic items of level 353 can be found in the new-style dungeons, and you'll need a minimum item level of 346 to enter them.

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EA: World of Warcraft a "silent movie"

And Star Wars: The Old Republic "is the first talkie".

EA has confidently proclaimed its in development massively multiplayer game Star Wars: The Old Republic will cause a sizeable number of World of Warcraft players to jump ship.

BlizzCon 2011 dates announced

Blizzard has announced dates for BlizzCon 2011.

The annual fan event will take place in Anaheim, California on Friday, 21st October to Saturday, 22nd October.

Ticket pricing and ticket availability haven't been announced. Tickets sold out in the blink of an eye last year, but Blizzard offered a paid-for internet TV service as consolation for its millions of fans worldwide.

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Blizzard targets Warcraft gold sellers

Merchants threatened with PayPal ban.

Companies and individuals attempting to sell in-game gold to World of Warcraft users are being threatened with a PayPal ban in a new crackdown by developer Blizzard on real money trading in the MMO.

Blizzard has World of StarCraft trademark

But popular mod allowed to live on.

It's all smiles for Ryan Winzen, creator of head-turning StarCraft II mod World of StarCraft. After an ominous start to the week when Activision's legal team blocked videos of the mod on YouTube, Winzen now finds himself with a job offer from League of Legends developer Riot Games and an invite to Blizzard HQ by the StarCraft II and World of Warcraft maker itself.

Win tons of World of Warcraft loot by dressing up

Eurogamer's first/last ever cosplay contest.

12 million may sound like an incredibly large number, but that's only because it's an incredibly large number. It's the number of people who subscribe to World of Warcraft at the moment according to Blizzard's last announcement on the subject. It's probably more by now, what with the launch of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm just before Christmas. Oli Welsh gave that 10/10, which suggests he thought it was quite good.

There are countless good reasons why I've never crossed the threshold of a bookies. First and foremost is my poor relationship with lady luck. However, it's also about my natural inclination towards chain smoking fistfuls of cigarettes and chewing my fingernails to the bone.

Blizzard mulling 5-man Molten Core

Original 40-man WOW raid downsized.

When World of Warcraft began, Molten Core, a fiery dungeon deep below the surface, was game's most challenging 40-man raid. Summoning and killing Ragnaros, the 10th and final boss - a giant, screen-filling flaming hulk - was something worth shouting about.

WOW voice chat needs a "revamp"

Blizzard "not super proud" of it.

Say voice chat to a World of Warcraft player and they'll answer TeamSpeak or Ventrilo - what they won't say is, "I use the inbuilt WOW voice chat and it's brilliant!"

Smaller WOW expansions, more often?

Smaller WOW expansions, more often?

Blizzard's considering it.

Blizzard would like to make World of Warcraft expansion packs more quickly, and is considering making smaller expansions in order to release them more often, designers Greg Street and Dave Kosak have revealed.

Blizzard has so far released an expansion pack every two years, but an 18-month schedule is "certainly a goal, we would like to get expansions out very quickly because we know players respond to them very well," lead systems designer Street told Eurogamer in an interview marking the launch of third expansion Cataclysm.

Earlier in the game's life, Blizzard said it aimed to publish an expansion every year, but "we're not anywhere close to that now," Street admitted.

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The Remaking of World of Warcraft

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street and Dave Kosak on the launch of the new old WOW.

Third World of Warcraft expansion Cataclysm launched last night and, as has become tradition, Blizzard staff fanned out across the globe to field questions from the media and sign game boxes for excited fans at midnight launch events.

What can topple World of Warcraft?

Rivals and analysts answer.

The release of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm marks six years of Blizzard's MMO dominance and the raising of the bar for MMO standards. But now, as servers buckle and players frantically level up their Worgens and Goblins, some will rightly ask: How long can Blizzard keep this up? Or, to put it another way, what can topple World of Warcraft?

WOW "sucked oxygen" from MMO subs

F2P or you'll be "skating up hill" - Cryptic.

World of Warcraft has "sucked the oxygen" from the subscription market: that's why the tide is turning towards free-to-play. And the only game with enough clout to compete is BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic.

New Blizzard MMO won't replace WoW

Next game will go in "different directions".

Blizzard believes World of Warcraft can happily co-exist with the unannounced "next-generation MMO" that it is currently developing.

Blizzard excited for fourth WOW expansion

Blizzard excited for fourth WOW expansion

Next-gen MMO dark till at least 2012.

Cataclysm isn't out till December, but gaming behemoth Blizzard is already excited about the idea it has for World of Warcraft's next expansion.

"It's pretty freakin' awesome," World of Warcraft senior producer John Lagrave told Game Informer at BlizzCon over the weekend.

"We've now got a central idea [for the next expansion] that makes me happy and gets me excited, and it makes everyone else happy and excited.

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World of Warcraft movie on hold

Raimi to make Wizard of Oz flick instead.

Plans for a World of Warcraft movie are on ice after director Sam Raimi announced he has decided to start work on a new Wizard of Oz movie instead.

WOW has 54% of Western MMO subs

Sector holds steady from 2008 into 2009.

Blizzard continues to dominate subscription-based MMO gaming, with World of Warcraft enjoying 54 per cent market share in North America and Europe in 2009, according to a new report.

WOW expansion finally launches in China

WOW expansion finally launches in China

Nearly two years after Western release.

World of Warcraft expansion Wrath of the Lich King - originally released in November 2008 – will finally see the light of day in China.

WotLK, which Eurogamer awarded a stonking 10/10 review, will release in Mainland China on 31st August.

Blizzard's endured a difficult time with the Chinese government over the last year, and even shut the game down for a time in 2009.

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Blizzard wins $88m in private server case

Unauthorised WOW operator sued.

Blizzard has been awarded an $88 million judgment in a lawsuit against Scapegaming, which operates unauthorised, or "private" World of Warcraft servers, Gamasutra reports.

Acti laments poor Blur, Singularity sales

Acti laments poor Blur, Singularity sales

Insists it marketed both appropriately.

Poor sales of Bizarre's racer Blur and Raven Software's shooter Singularity between April and June were offset by the continued gargantuan success of Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, publisher Activision Blizzard has said.

"Singularity fell short of meeting what is an exceptionally high bar within the shooter genre," said chief financial officer Thomas Tippl during an investor call last night.

"Fortunately, Call of Duty was the title that raised that bar and shortfall of Singularity was offset by Call of Duty's catalogue and DLC performance.

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Blizzard "probably very arrogant" - Jagex

"Perhaps even over-self-assured."

Jagex chief Mark Gerhard believes success has brought arrogance to Blizzard. He told Eurogamer that the World of Warcraft and StarCraft II maker now appears to be giving "two fingers up" to a democratised community.

Community Chest

Blizzard's Real ID may be a misstep, but at least it's thinking about community, when many rivals aren't.

Published as part of our sister-site GamesIndustry.biz's widely-read weekly newsletter, the GamesIndustry.biz Editorial, is a weekly dissection of an issue weighing on the minds of the people at the top of the games business. It appears on Eurogamer after it goes out to GI.biz newsletter subscribers.

Blizzard forums to require real names

Storm of protest over Battle.net Real ID.

Blizzard has unleashed a hurricane of internet rage by announcing that it will require users to post under their real names on its forums, in a move intended to create a more "positive", "constructive" community.

WOW's iPhone Auction House in beta

WOW's iPhone Auction House in beta

Will require extra subscription when live.

Blizzard is beta testing the Remote Auction House for World of Warcraft, which will allow players to bid on and sell items via an iPhone or iPod Touch or a web browser.

The service is free to use while in beta, but once live, will require a subscription to the new World of Warcraft Remote service, which will cost $2.99 for 30 days.

The beta is currently only available to players on a selection of North American servers - WoW.com has the full list.

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BlizzCon 2010 ticket dates announced

BlizzCon 2010 ticket dates announced

Going for $150 in early June. Two batches.

Activision Blizzard has announced BlizzCon 2010 tickets will go on sale in two batches.

The first batch will sell on Wednesday, 2nd June at 7pm Pacific Time. The second batch will sell on Saturday, 5th June at 10am Pacific Time.

Tickets will be $150 each and available to buy from the BlizzCon website. To make things easier, Blizzard suggests registering a Battle.net account in the lead-up.

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How to opt in for WOW Cataclysm beta

How to opt in for WOW Cataclysm beta

Linked Battle.net, WOW accounts required.

Blizzard has posted a note on the US World of Warcraft site reminding players that the beta test for the Cataclysm expansion will be starting soon, and informing them how to opt in to be considered for it.

There's nothing on the European WOW site as yet, so plans on this side of the Atlantic may be less far advanced, but the process for opting in is the same.

You'll need a Battle.net account with a World of Warcraft licence attached. Visit the Battle.net beta profile settings page, make sure you have your system specification uploaded using Blizzard's tool, and check the box to say you're interested in beta tests for the Warcraft universe.

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$25 WOW horse makes millions

More of a macro-transaction, really.

Blizzard has had unprecedented success with virtual item sales on the release of the Celestial Steed - a special in-game mount for World of Warcraft that costs the princely sum of $25, €20 or £17.

WOW Cataclysm class changes detailed

Blizzard overhauling across the board.

Blizzard is significantly altering the 10 existing World of Warcraft classes in upcoming expansion Cataclysm, introducing new spells, abilities and talents as well as altering those already present.

Activision: WOW could become "obsolete"

Blizzard behemoth not untouchable.

Activision has made a worrying risk assessment of World of Warcraft, claiming the MMO giant could be toppled - rendered "obsolete" - by the emerging social gaming scene.

Access WOW auction house on iPhone, web

Blizzard planning "premium" Armory service.

Blizzard is planning to integrate World of Warcraft's auction house with its Armory platform, giving players out-of-game access to Azeroth's economy from web browsers and iPhones.

Warcraft movie still at script stage

Raimi may find something else to do first.

The script for the Warcraft film is still "in the outline/story/script phase," and it won't necessarily be director Sam Raimi's next project now he is no longer directing Spider-Man 4.

WOW nearly out of woods in China

Sources say fine agreed, Lich King soon.

Reuters reports that World of Warcraft's operator in China, NetEase, may be close to ending its dispute with regulators over the running of the game.

Fugitive tracked down through WOW

Blizzard helps with manhunt.

Indiana newspaper The Kokomo Perspective (thanks, RPS) reports that a local Sherriff's Department successfully tracked down a fugitive from justice through his World of Warcraft account, with Blizzard's co-operation.

No WOW Lich King fight until April?

New Icecrown Citadel opening staggered.

The question of what Blizzard will do to tide over World of Warcraft content between now (patch 3.3, Fall of the Lich King) and next expansion Cataclysm appears to have been answered: stagger Icecrown Citadel's opening.

Euro WOW Lich King patch tomorrow

Euro WOW Lich King patch tomorrow

Fight end boss Arthas at last.

Early tomorrow morning patch 3.3, Fall of the Lich King, will be applied to the European World of Warcraft servers and prise open the gates to Icecrown Citadel, home of Wrath of the Lich King end boss, Arthas.

He'll await any 10 or 25-player raid group competent enough to battle through The Frozen Throne, and presumably hold the key pieces of the new Tier 10 armour sets. You'll need to take down Bronjahm, Devourer of Souls, Forgemaster Garfrost, Ick and Krick, Scourgelord Tyrannus and Falric and Marwyn before facing The Lich King ("a godlike being" claims the WOW website) in his private chambers.

There are three new five-man dungeons to be found in The Frozen Halls, too.

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Player clocks WOW achievements

MMO "completed" in Taiwan.

A Taiwanese player has has become the first to complete every single one of World of Warcraft's achievements - which is probably as close as anyone can come to "completing" the game.

10 Moments That Made World of Warcraft

From the archive: Key events from WOW's first five years.

Every Sunday, we dust off one of our favourite articles from the archive for you to enjoy again or maybe read for the first time. As Hearthstone goes into open beta and Blizzard sits on the cusp of another potential phenomenon, we thought we'd go back to November 2009, as World of Warcraft celebrated its first five years.

Blizzard on 15 years of Warcraft, 5 of WOW

"You just don't know how it's going to do."

Blizzard has launched a special site celebrating the fifth anniversary of World of Warcraft - which launched on 23rd Novmeber 2004 - as well as 15 years of the Warcraft series.

BlizzCon moving to Vegas in July?

LVCC thinks so, Blizzard not so sure.

BlizzCon could be moving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas next year, if the Las Vegas Convention Centre is to be believed.

Battle.net now required to play WOW

Merging accounts essential from today.

Via its official sites, Blizzard is reminding World of Warcraft players that from today, they will need to create a Battle.net account and merge it with their WOW account in order to play.

Blizzard keen on WOW micro-transactions

Item sales will be purely optional, though.

According to VG247, Blizzard chief Mike Morhaime told the Activision Blizzard investor conference that the company sees micro-transactions as an important part of World of Warcraft's future.

WOW patch 3.3 in

WOW patch 3.3 in "coming weeks"

What does that mean for Cataclysm?

During yesterday's Activision Blizzard investor conference, Blizzard chief Mike Morhaime said the next World of Warcraft update would be released "in the coming weeks".

VG247 heard the words, and got so excited they thought Morhaime was actually referring to next expansion pack Cataclysm. Bless.

However, we're pretty sure he means the update known as Patch 3.3, which is currently on WOW test servers. This update introduces three five-man dungeons and one 10 or 25-player raid within Icecrown Citadel, and allows players to fight the Wrath of the Lich King end boss, Arthas.

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Blizzard opens WOW pet store

Buy yourself a sidekick for nine quid.

Blizzard has put two in-game World of Warcraft pets up for sale at the Blizzard Store: a Pandaren Monk, and Lil' K.T., a baby version of the villainous Lich Kel'Thuzad.

WOW on shaky ground in China

Ordered to stop taking money and accounts.

World of Warcraft's rough ride in the crucial Chinese market continues, with reports that the country's General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP) has returned new operator NetEase's application to run the game and ordered it to stop taking money and account registrations.

WOW Battle.net deadline set

You've a month to merge accounts.

Blizzard has set a deadline by which all World of Warcraft players will need to merge their WOW accounts with a new Battle.net account: November 11th in North America, and November 12th in Europe.

Private Ryan writer on Warcraft film

Rumours of Lich King focus look unlikely.

Spider-Man helmsman Sam Raimi has spoken to MTV News about plans for the Warcraft film he's set to direct, and has revealed that he's got Saving Private Ryan writer Robert Rodat working on the script.

Cataclysm features Goblin GTA parody

WOW expansion scooped by PC Gamer.

The UK edition of PC Gamer magazine got to stay behind after class, sorry BlizzCon, this year - and found out a bit more about the forthcoming Cataclysm expansion to World of Warcraft. Teacher's pets. We're still sulking about not being invited to that particular party, but not above bringing you the headlines.

WOW patch returns Onyxia to power

WOW patch returns Onyxia to power

Update 3.2.2 is alive and kicking.

Ageing World of Warcraft boss Onyxia has soared back to prominence, as patch 3.2.2 rolls out and celebrates the MMO's fifth birthday.

She used to be a challenging 40-person raid encounter, and takes a top role in the World of Warcraft lore as sibling to Nefarian and daughter of Deathwing - star of the Cataclysm expansion.

Onyxia, a dragon, will now be a 10- or 25-person raid encounter at level 80, and will drop much more powerful versions of her original treasures. There's even a chance to snag a flying mount modelled on Onyxia herself, granting a 310 per cent speed bonus.

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WOW's vital statistics revealed

Plus, Blizzard talks cancelled sci-fi RPG.

In a typically detailed presentation to the Austin Game Developers Conference, World of Warcraft producers Frank Pearce and J. Allen Brack have laid bare the structure of the organisation which makes and maintains the MMO.

WOW faction changes live in the US

$30 a pop. Race change coming soon.

Blizzard has made it possible to move characters between the Horde and Alliance factions in World of Warcraft for the first time. The service is only available in North America at present, and there's no word on when it will be available in Europe yet.

WOW to support cross-server dungeons

Also, Icecrown Citadel previewed.

Amid the deluge of information on World of Warcraft: Cataclysm released at BlizzCon this weekend were a few morsels on the content and changes coming in future patches. The most interesting were at Saturday's dungeons and raids panel: a preview of Icecrown Citadel, and news that Blizzard will introduce cross-server dungeon grouping.

Every old WOW zone to be revamped

And more endgame than ever before.

Following World of Warcraft: Cataclysm's unveiling at the BlizzCon opening ceremony, Blizzard unveiled plans for the third expansion in detail at a packed developer panel.

The Making of World of Warcraft

Part Two: Five years at the top.

In part one of our exclusive look at how the biggest game in the world was made, key Blizzard developers took us through development from the earliest concepts to the game's launch. In the second and final part this week, we look at how Blizzard reacted to its unexpected success, and how it's changed in the years since.

WOW expansion to revamp old world?

WOW expansion to revamp old world?

Huge changes to classic content rumoured.

If you thought World of Warcraft expansions had settled into a comfortable routine of ten new levels and a new continent apiece, the latest rumours about the third add-on to the monster MMO will surprise you.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, as it's believed to be called, will only raise the level cap to 85 and won't add a substantial new landmass, but will instead redraw the map of the original game, according to respected WOW fansite MMO Champion.

MMO Champion's sources propose that "a cataclysmic event", brought about by a collaboration between the Naga and the Black Dragonflight, will change the face of Azeroth. Questing in the original zones will be revamped to reflect the style and technology of the current game, flying mounts will be allowed, classic dungeons will be revamped to allow them to be played at high level, long closed-off zones like Hyjal, Gilneas and Uldum will be added, and some current zones will have their level bands changed, be split up, flooded or ruined. There are even suggestions that Horde capital Orgrimmar will be destroyed.

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Onyxia returns for WOW's 5th birthday

Classic raid to be revamped.

Blizzard has revealed that it will celebrate World of Warcraft's 5-year anniversary by updating one of the classic raid dungeons from the original game, Onyxia's Lair.

The Making of World of Warcraft

Part One: From concept to launch.

Eleven million players. Two expansions. $1.2 billion a year in revenue. 16GB of your hard disk. Billions of hours played. Acres of news-print. A Sam Raimi-directed movie in the works. A billion-dollar grey market in gold and items. An episode of South Park. Therapists creating in-game characters for addiction counselling. Eleven million players.

WOW was almost "a much darker game"

Metzen and Didier on what might've been.

Speaking exclusively to Eurogamer, Blizzard's Chris Metzen and Sam Didier have revealed that early World of Warcraft concepts were more futuristic and "much darker" than the game they eventually made.

New races rumoured for WOW expansion

New races rumoured for WOW expansion

Goblins for Horde, Worgen for Alliance?

The normally reliable WoW.com has added its weight to rumours that the next World of Warcraft expansion will feature two new playable races.

"Multiple sources close to the situation" confirmed to WOW.com that Goblins and Worgen would join the Horde and Alliance respectively.

Worgen are WOW's werewolves, and a seemingly unlikely choice to join the whitebread Alliance. The ubiquitous, currently neutral Goblins mucking in with the Horde seems more feasible.

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BlizzCon 2009 sold out in eight minutes

20,000 people to attend this year.

Here's a snippet we missed from the Activision Blizzard conference call earlier in the week. This year's BlizzCon Blizzard fan convention sold out in just eight minutes, according to Big Download.

New Battle.net "similar to Xbox Live"

Vision outlined for "social gaming network".

Perhaps feeling the need to explain to shareholders why it was delaying StarCraft II, Activision Blizzard has given a broad explanation of the features we can expect from its new Battle.net online gaming service.

WOW: Call of the Crusade patch today

WOW: Call of the Crusade patch today

Raid, battleground, PVP levelling all in.

World of Warcraft is updated to patch 3.2, otherwise known as Call of the Crusade, on European servers this morning after appearing in the US yesterday.

Call of the Crusade introduces a new short raid and heroic dungeon at the Crusaders' Coliseum, an 80-player keep-capture battleground called the Isle of Conquest, and - in a major change - the ability level your character in player-versus-player battlegrounds or turn off experience gain altogether.

The Argent Tournament series of quests and challenges introduced in the last patch is expanded, druids get fancy new graphics for their cat and bear forms, and mounts (including "epic" and flying mounts) will now be available to levelling characters much earlier and cheaper.

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Blizzard trademarks Cataclysm

Next WOW expansion? New game?

Blizzard has filed three trademark registrations for the name Cataclysm, covering computer game software, online gaming services, and various related merchandising. The eagle-eyed superannuation made the spot.

Blizzard's Rob Pardo

How the world's most successful studio makes games.

Sitting in an office in the memorabilia-filled halls of Blizzard's nerve-centre in southern California, Rob Pardo is unassuming, chirpy and sincere - a manner which belies the fact that this is unquestionably one of the most influential men in the games business.

Build for hardcore first, says Blizzard

Pardo argues accessibility can come later.

In an interview with Eurogamer, Blizzard's game design chief Rob Pardo has argued that it makes more sense to build a game with the hardcore gamer in mind first, and then improve its accessibility later.

WOW to enable faction-swapping

On same realm to "equivalent" char.

Blizzard has announced the development of a faction-swapping mechanic for World of Warcraft, which will allow Horde and Alliance forces on the same server to swap sides.

WOW: PVP levelling in next patch

WOW: PVP levelling in next patch

Plus: turn off XP altogether!

Blizzard has confirmed that it's to introduce experience gains from playing player-versus-player battlegrounds in the next World of Warcraft content update, Call of the Crusade. This means that you'll be able to level characters entirely through PVP for the first time.

The move, hinted at during last year's BlizzCon, was confirmed in the latest test server patch notes.

XP will be awarded for any actions that yield honor points in the battlegrounds, excluding killing other players: capturing objectives, returning flags, winning and so on. It will still be a slower way to level than questing, according to lead content designer Cory Stockton: "We want Battleground experience to be rewarding, but we also don't want it to be the fastest way for players to level up."

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WOW slashes mount requirements

Get faster ponies, earlier and cheaper.

Blizzard has revealed on the official World of Warcraft forums that it's dramatically decreasing the cost and increasing the accessibility of the mounts that allow players to get around the game world faster.

New battleground in next WOW patch

New battleground in next WOW patch

Plus mini-raid, more Argent Tournament.

Blizzard has announced the first details of the next World of Warcraft update, patch 3.2: Call of the Crusade.

The update will introduce the Isle of Conquest battleground, a "large-scale siege" PVP map where players will compete for resources needed to lay siege to each other's keeps.

Also coming is the mysterious Crusaders' Coliseum containing "5-player, 10-player, and 25-player challenges". It 's a training area set up by the Argent Crusade to prepare troops for a siege on Icecrown Citadel, and it sounds like it might be a mini-raid for dungeon groups of all sizes.

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First block of BlizzCon tickets sells out

First block of BlizzCon tickets sells out

More available in a fortnight.

The first batch of tickets for Blizzard's BlizzCon fan convention went on sale on Saturday and sold out within "minutes", according to VG247.

As originally announced, a second batch of the USD 125 tickets will be made available on Saturday 30th May for those who missed this first round.

BlizzCon runs from August 21st to 22nd at the Anaheim Convention Center near Los Angeles. If previous years are anything to go by it will have a five-figure attendance, and offer hands-on opportunities with StarCraft II and Diablo III, some surprisingly frank developer panels, and the heart-warming spectacle (yes, really) of the fan costume and dance contests.

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BlizzCon tickets on sale next week

Event will live internet streaming.

Blizzard has announced that tickets for the fourth BlizzCon fan convention will go on sale on Saturday 16th May. The event runs from August 21st to 22nd in Anaheim, California.

The9 preparing Chinese WOW knock-off?

Hell hath no fury like a licensee spurned.

Chinese MMO publisher The9 has launched a website for a new title called World of Fight, reports GamesIndustry.biz. Many have drawn immediate comparisons to World of Warcraft, the title The9 previously operated in China but lost last month after Blizzard cut ties with the company, announcing a new deal with NetEase.

WOW: Secrets of Ulduar tomorrow

Or today, if you're American.

In a forum post, Blizzard has confirmed that Secrets of Ulduar, the patch formerly known as 3.1, will go live on World of Warcraft servers this week.

Gold sellers steal accounts - Blizzard

WOW operator explains hard-line stance.

Speaking to Nick Ryan for Eurogamer's Gold Trading Exposed feature series, a Blizzard spokesperson has explained the company's firm opposition to real money trading (RMT).

PETA holds seal-clubbing protest in WOW

Canadians portrayed as Undead Horde.

Animal rights organisation PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is taking its protest against Canada's annual slaughter of baby seals for their skins into World of Warcraft.

WOW Equipment Manager delayed

Won't make launch of patch 3.1.

Blizzard has announced that it's delaying the release of the Equipment Manager feature for World of Warcraft that was due to be included in the next patch, 3.1.

Blizzard releases iPhone authenticator

US only so far, other phones to come.

Blizzard has released an iPhone and iPod Touch application that works as an authenticator to help keep your World of Warcraft and Battle.net accounts secure.

Grinding WOW gold earns GBP 1 an hour

Players speak out on why they buy.

In the third of Nick Ryan's four-part Eurogamer feature series on the trade in MMO currencies and services, a player explains why he buys World of Warcraft gold by estimating that earning it legitimately in-game is only worth one pound an hour.

16m WOW quests completed every day

That's in US alone. Kaplan explains why.

Former World of Warcraft lead designer Jeff Kaplan told a Game Developers Conference audience last week that, on average, 16.6 million quests are completed on WOW's North American servers every day.

A million gold farmers in China

70 per cent of all trade is in WOW gold.

In a revealing profile of the gold-selling industry - the second in our four-part feature series on the trade in in-game currencies and services - the number of gold farmers in China is estimated at one million.

Blizzard launches new Battle.net

Blizzard launches new Battle.net

Unified login for WOW and future games.

Blizzard has launched its new Battle.net online gaming and account management service. At present, it's simply a unified login that will work for up to eight World of Warcraft accounts and all future Blizzard games such as StarCraft II and Diablo III, as well as Blizzard's online store.

Players who've already created one of the stop-gap Blizzard Accounts have had that login automatically transferred to the new Battle.net.

Merging World of Warcraft accounts with Battle.net accounts is currently only available in the Americas. Europe and Korea will get this service at a later date. It's currently optional, but "we will eventually require all active World of Warcraft accounts to migrate over to Battle.net Accounts in order to continue playing," according to the FAQ.

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Blizzard targeted in MMO patent dispute

WOW and Second Life next if NCsoft loses.

Confirming our suspicions, Worlds.com has revealed that it intends to sue Blizzard and Linden Labs if its patent suit against NCsoft is successful.

Chinese govt. rejects WOW: Lich King?

Too many skeletons, apparently.

World of Warcraft's second expansion Wrath of the Lich King has been twice refused release by the Chinese government for censorship reasons, say reports.

Flood of info as WOW patch 3.1 hits test

Flood of info as WOW patch 3.1 hits test

Argent Tournament, dungeon maps, more.

World of Warcarft's first major patch since Wrath of the Lich King has been released on Blizzard's public test servers - and with it arrives a deluge of new information via the official patch notes and inquisitive players.

The headlines are as expected: the huge Ulduar raid has arrived along with dual talent specs, class changes, and the ability of all mounts to swim.

There are a number of sizeable surprises, however. The biggest must be the Argent Tournament, a new event with two components - mounted combat and a Coliseum-style battle. The event is associated with the Argent Crusade faction and will reward players with Achievements, titles, tabards, pets, banners, and what appear to be new versions of the classic racial mounts.

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WOW guild leader wins an Oscar

Effects man earns sweet loot drop.

According to a tip-off received by WOW Insider, one of the recipients of Sunday's Oscars is also an achiever in Azeroth - he leads a successful World of Warcraft raid guild.

WOW's

WOW's "truly epic" Ulduar raid previewed

14 bosses, vehicle combat, hard mode.

Blizzard has provided the first solid details on Ulduar, the raid zone that will serve as the first major new content in the game since the launch of second expansion Wrath of the Lich King.

It promises a huge, two-stage zone featuring vehicle combat, 14 bosses, and a hard mode for seasoned raiders, and calls Ulduar "World of Warcraft's most ambitious raid to date".

According to the official site, Ulduar is all about scale. "Many players have already gotten their Wrath of the Lich King raiding feet wet in Naxxramas and the Sartharion raid, but Ulduar is the first example of the expansion's much larger, truly epic scope of raiding, as will be evident from the second you set foot in the instance," reads the preview.

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BlizzCon 2009 confirmed for August

BlizzCon 2009 confirmed for August

Third WOW expansion to be announced?

Blizzard has confirmed dates for the fourth BlizzCon fan convention. This year's event will return to its usual home of the Anaheim Convention Center near Los Angeles on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd August.

In reponse to the five-figure crowds drawn by the last two BlizzCons, this year's event is being expanded from three convention halls to four. No specific details of the convention's line-up were given, but the outline indicates business as usual: hands-on with upcoming Blizzard games, panels with developers, tournaments, community contests and more.

Previous BlizzCons have seen the announcement of the Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King expansions to World of Warcraft, and we'd lay money on a third add-on being revealed at this year's event.

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WOW's dual talent specs explained

Max level only, comes with gear manager.

In a Q&A on the official World of Warcraft website, Blizzard's senior game designer Greg Street (better known to players as Ghostcrawler) has explained how the dual talent spec system coming in the next game update will work.

Jeff Kaplan leaves WOW for next MMO

Lead designer moves on after 6 years.

Jeff Kaplan, one of World of Warcraft's two lead designers and one of the game's most enthusiastic and visible spokesmen, has confirmed that he's leaving the WOW's development team. He'll work on Blizzard's next MMO instead.

WOW's 2009 Arena tournament confirmed

WOW's 2009 Arena tournament confirmed

Online gladiators compete for USD 200k.

Blizzard has confirmed that its official World of Warcraft Arena tournament will go into a second year. Registration starts on February 17th.

As last year, the tournament will begin with an online qualifier played on special tournament servers with premade level 80 characters. Top teams will then proceed to regional finals and a global world championship - which last year took place at BlizzCon in October.

Prize money will total over USD 200,000, and participants also stand a chance to win some in-game rewards for their live characters - an exclusive armoured Murloc pet, and the title of Vanquisher.

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Big class changes in next WOW patch

Big class changes in next WOW patch

Blizzard sets house in order.

Blizzard has outlined some major changes coming to every World of Warcraft character class in the next major content patch, known only as patch 3.1 for now. The announcements came via a series of posts on WOW's official forums.

Although every class gets some serious attention, the headlines are: no more consumable ammunition for Hunters; a substantial boost for Protection-spec Paladins; major improvements to the Priest class, especially in group healing; general buffs for Rogues and Shamans; efficiency improvements for Warriors and Warlocks (with the penalty for Warriors changing stances being much lighter); plus, mana regeneration is being reined in across the board.

It's all a bit technical to go into in detail here, so let us instead point you to the original posts: Priest, Rogue and Shaman; Warlock, Warrior and Druid; Death Knight, Hunter, Mage and Paladin.

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Judge rules WOW bot violates copyright

Victory could have wider implications.

A judge in the case Blizzard brought against mod developer MDY has ruled that its auto-farming "bot" for World of Warcraft, Glider, violates Blizzard's copyright.

WOW: other hero classes were considered

Necromancer, Rune Master didn't make it.

World of Warcraft lead designer Jeff Kaplan has revealed that two other hero classes were under serious consideration for second expansion Wrath of the Lich King - before ultimately being beaten to it by the Death Knight.

WOW makes up half Acti-Blizz's business

Made USD 400 million last year, says analyst.

If you ever doubted that the merger between Activision and Vivendi Games was all about World of Warcraft, this should set you straight. A games industry analyst has reckoned that the Blizzard MMO accounted for half of the publishing giant's earnings in the last fiscal year.

WOW patch beset with problems

WOW patch beset with problems

Wintergrasp back up, Arenas gone.

The release of yesterday's WOW patch hasn't gone as smoothly as Blizzard would have hoped, with headline changes not working properly, major player-versus-player game features disabled, and bugs and lag apparently worse than before.

WOW Insider has listed some of the issues, judging the patch a "disaster".

As we reported yesterday, the Wintergrasp PVP zone had to be disabled after it was found to crash the game servers. No sooner was this fixed than Arena battles had to be removed due to bugs in the ranking system.

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Death Knight restrictions lifted in WOW

Plus Wintergrasp reboot, class changes, 3D.

World of Warcraft is patched today - yesterday in the US - with a raft of substantial changes including the lifting of restrictions on the creation of Death Knights, adjustments to the Wintergrasp player-versus-player zone, major class changes, 3D support and the introduction of a black President.

WOW sex changes available in Europe

Paid customisation crosses ocean.

Blizzard has launched its World of Warcraft character re-customisation service for players on European servers. It's available from the "Manage Account" page of the official website.

Employers screening WOW players?

Recruiters being asked to avoid them.

According to a post on the F13 forums, employers are specifically requesting recruitment consultants not to send them World of Warcraft players.

WOW's paid customisation launches

WOW's paid customisation launches

Sex-changes available to Americans.

World of Warcraft's paid character re-customisation service has launched for players on North American servers, allowing players to change their characters' sex for the first time.

The service costs USD 15 and allows you to change your character's gender, skin colour and facial features. You also get a free name change if you want it (this normally incurs a USD 10 charge).

Furthermore, you can change your hair style and colour, and the other cosmetic details which can already be altered in the in-game barbershop for in-game currency.

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Dual talent specs in next WOW update?

Dual talent specs in next WOW update?

Blizzard hopes so, adds new details.

Blizzard has said that the ability for World of Warcraft players to switch between two concurrent character builds, or "talent specs", could arrive in the next major content update.

A Blizzard poster on the official forums said: "We hope to have this done for the next major content patch, but it's a big feature and takes some time."

In WOW, talents are a layer of character customisation that typically takes every character class down one of three paths. For instance, a Druid can be configured for healing, magical damage, or physical damage and tanking.

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Achievements added to WOW Armory

Plus stats, guild info, comparisons, more.

World of Warcraft's Armory (Blizzard's spelling, not ours) has been updated to include the Achievements and statistics added to the game in last month's Echoes of Doom patch.

8-bit WOW raid made real

Molten Core an April Fool no more.

Gamer's University has made an April Fool real with the release of a simulated version of World of Warcraft's Molten Core raid for a primitive 8-bit console.

WOW: Lich King sells 2.8m in 24 hours

WOW: Lich King sells 2.8m in 24 hours

It's the fastest-selling PC game ever.

Blizzard has announced that second of World of Warcraft expansion Wrath of the Lich King racked up 2.8 million sales worldwide in its first 24 hours on release.

This makes it the fastest-selling PC game ever released. It also keeps the title in the family; the previous record-holder was first WOW expansion The Burning Crusade, which managed 2.4 million in one day in January last year.

Most of those 2.8 million sales will have come from North America and Europe, although Lich King benefited from the addition of Chile, Argentina and Russia to Blizzard's domain. Australasia and south-east Asia got the expansion a day or two later, and China's still waiting.

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All WOW: Lich King raids defeated

That didn't take long.

A European World of Warcraft raiding guild has announced that it has killed all of the raid bosses in new expansion Wrath of the Lich King in just under three days.

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

Few games have been as exhaustively detailed ahead of their release as second World of Warcraft expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. After Blizzard failed to plug the leaks from early testing, it resigned itself to the inevitable and lifted any and all non-disclosure restrictions from the public beta test. The insatiable hunger for information of 11 million fans was just too great a force to resist, even for a company as powerful and protective as Blizzard.

The result was a tidal-wave of detail on wikis, databases, fansites and forums across the internet. Even the five hands-on previews we've published in the last seven months barely scratch the surface. The voracious WOW fanbase seems to have chewed up and spat out this expansion, two years in the making, before Blizzard has had a chance to serve it.

So how come it feels so new?

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WOW: Lich King sees its first level 80

French player Nymh does it in 27 hours.

World of Warcraft has its first official level 80 on live servers: Nymh, a warlock on the European French-language server Drek'thar.

WOW paid customisation explained

Cost is intended to be a "deterrent".

Blizzard's Paul Sams and Lee Sparks have shed light on the paid character customisation that will come to World of Warcraft in the future.

Lich King launch event was UK's biggest

Lich King launch event was UK's biggest

HMV Oxford Street sees record crowds.

The midnight launch event for World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King at HMV's Oxford Street branch was the biggest the store had seen, an HMV spokesman told Eurogamer tonight.

The flagship store held the previous UK record for an entertainment launch with the 1500 people who showed up at midnight on 16th January last year to buy previous WOW expansion, The Burning Crusade.

Although there was no official headcount, the HMV representative was convinced that record had been broken by a significant margin - some 25 to 30 per cent.

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Blizzard "wouldn't bet against" BioWare

But Sams warns of pitfalls for Old Republic.

Blizzard executive Paul Sams has said that he expects BioWare have a good chance of finding MMO success with the recently-announced Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Lich King midnight launch plans revealed

Lich King midnight launch plans revealed

Capital cities under siege (in Azeroth).

Blizzard has helpfully supplied a comprehensive list of every single shop in Europe that will sell you a copy of second World of Warcraft expansion Wrath of the Lich King at midnight tomorrow night.

The UK in particular is set to go Scourge crazy, with dozens of branches of Gamestation, Tesco and HMV joining in with the flagship launch event at HMV's flagship store on Oxford Street in London.

Actually, maybe it's just because those are all 24-hour branches of Tesco. Anyway, the Germans also seem pretty keen. France isn't so bothered, with just six city-centre stores opening.

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Surprise Lich King event begins in WOW

Run amok as a zombie in capital cities.

Reports are flooding in of a zombie invasion in World of Warcraft, heralding the imminent arrival of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion.

Mythic "flattered" by WOW's PVP changes

Jacobs reckons it's a reaction to WAR.

Blizzad's move to beef up open-world player-versus-player combat in World of Warcraft is "absolutely a reaction to Warhammer," according to Mythic boss Mark Jacobs.

Blizzard in for "lengthy battle" - Mythic

Jacobs responds to claims of lost players.

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning has only just begun to compete with World of Warcraft, says Mark Jacobs, Mythic's CEO, who commented "It's a marathon, not a sprint".

Next Blizzard MMO won't be WOW 2

Morhaime drives final nail in that coffin.

Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime has finally laid to rest any speculation that the company's next MMO will be a follow-up to World of Warcraft.

WAR players returning to WOW

More than half, says Blizzard's Sams.

While a number of World of Warcraft users dropped the game to play Warhammer Online, more than half of those gamers have already returned to Blizzard's market-leader, reports GamesIndustry.biz.

WOW patch live, servers back up

WOW patch live, servers back up

You can cancel the after-work drink now.

World of Warcraft fans stuck at their desks for another few minutes will be glad to know that the game servers are back up, and players are diving into the Echoes of Doom patch.

There were several delays during the afternoon, but European players got off lighter than their North American counterparts, who were waiting well into yesterday evening to start playing with new skills and earning WOW's first in-game Achievements.

We wouldn't ever log in during work hours, naturally. But friend of Eurogamer MMO, Morten Skovgaard of Denmark's PCplayer magazine, informs us that "it's insane out there".

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WOW's Echoes of Doom patch out today

WOW's Echoes of Doom patch out today

Servers back up at 1pm - if you're lucky.

World of Warcraft's Echoes of Doom - the update formerly known as patch 3.0.2 - goes live on European servers today. It will bring many of the new features of next month's Wrath of the Lich King expansion pack to all players of the game.

Servers went down to receive the patch in the early hours of this morning, and are expected back online following maintenance at 2pm Paris time (1pm in the UK).

However, if the patch day experience in the US yesterday is anything to go by, you might be waiting well into the evening to try out your new talent trees. WOW Insider reported that most servers were still offline at 8pm local time, after the target for turning them back on had been pushed back three times.

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WOW still aiming for annual expansions

WOW still aiming for annual expansions

Not next time though, says Morhaime.

Blizzard is still aiming to release World of Warcraft expansions annually, but following Wrath of the Lich King fans won't see another for more than a year, says the developer's chief executive, Mike Morhaime.

"That's still the ideal goal," he told Eurogamer, when we asked if Blizzard still planned to release an expansion each year. "But as with anything, there is this underlying rule that trumps everything, which is that we'll take as much time as we need until... it reaches the expectations of ourselves and our players."

"Right now we're on the longer-than-a-year plan," he explained. "The next one, I think it is still unlikely that we're going to get it down to a calendar year."

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WOW to introduce PVP levelling?

Maybe guild league tables, too.

In a World of Warcraft player-versus-player panel at last weekend's BlizzCon, it was revealed that Blizzard is considering making it possible for players to level up by playing PVP battlegrounds.

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

Beta Report Part 2: Achievements, Inscription, interface, haircuts.

We've already covered the big class changes coming to World of Warcraft in the imminent Wrath of the Lich King - or the even-more-imminent Echoes of Doom patch that will precede it in the next couple of weeks. We've also romped through the incredible Death Knight intro. Over the next six weeks we'll explore Northrend and the expansion's new player-versus-player options - but before that, we have some nitty-gritty to attend to.

WOW raids nerfed for Lich King

Bosses' health reduced by 30 per cent.

The latest patch to the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King beta - and to the related update, on the test realms for the live game - has made the current top-level raids and dungeons for the game drastically easier.

Blizzard awarded USD 6m in damages

Glider bot's MDY given the bum rush.

The BBC are reporting that Blizzard has been awarded USD 6 million in damages in a case against bot-software developers MDY Industries.

Earn game time with WOW credit card

Global economic crisis solved.

In what could be the strangest World of Warcraft spin-off yet - and the strangest response from the financial world to consumer panic over collapsing financial markets - the First National Bank of Omaha is launching a World of Warcraft credit card.

Bejeweled add-on coming to WOW

While away flights thanks to PopCap.

Valve's Gabe Newell once commented that World of Warcraft wasn't so much a game as a platform in its own right. Well, he's been proven right by respected puzzle game developer PopCap - it has decided to release its classic, Bejeweled, as a free game-within-a-game for World of Warcraft.

Lich King Collector's Edition details

Lich King Collector's Edition details

Art book, soundtrack, DVD, worm.

Alongside the confirmed 13th November release date, Blizzard has announced details of a Collector's Edition for World of Warcraft expansion, Wrath of the Lich King.

According to the press release, the box will contain the following:

The Art of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, a 208-page art book with exclusive images.

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WOW: Lich King date confirmed

WOW: Lich King date confirmed

Simultaneous in US and Europe.

Blizzard has confirmed this morning's reports: World of Warcraft expansion Wrath of the Lich King will launch on 13th November.

This is the launch date for the US, Europe, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Russia. It will arrive the next day, 14th November, in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Finally, Korea and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau will get it on 18th November. There's no date yet for launch on mainland China.

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Monster WOW patch enters testing

Monster WOW patch enters testing

Lich King features included.

World of Warcraft patch 3.0.2 - the update that will prepare the game for the arrival of Wrath of the Lich King (which could be as early as November) - has gone live on Blizzard's public test servers.

The patch, announced last month, includes the new talent trees for every class, new Arenas, and adds a harbour to Stormwind City.

It also includes two major features initially thought to be reserved for Lich King itself - the new Inscription profession, and barbershops where you'll be able to change your character's hairstyle.

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Lich King release date announced?

Lich King release date announced?

Web ad appears to spill beans.

World of Warcraft's second expansion Wrath of the Lich King will be released on 13th November this year, according to an advertisement on the Wowhead site.

WOW Insider has checked the authenticity of the advert, and been told it's official.

We've approached Blizzard for confirmation, and to check that the release date applies to Europe as well as North America. First expansion The Burning Crusade was released simultaneously in both regions. We'll let you know as soon as we hear back.

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WOW opens PVE to PVP transfers

Move your character for cash.

Blizzard has announced in a forum post that it's opening up paid character transfers from Normal (player-versus-environment) to Player-versus-Player servers in World of Warcraft.

WOW Arenas: regional winners

Fnatic and x6tence take US and EU crowns.

Building up to the global finals of the World of Warcraft Arena Tournament - the first attempt to make an eSport out of an MMO - at BlizzCon in October, last weekend saw the regional finals for North America and Europe take place.

WOW getting gradual graphics upgrade

Draw distance, shadows and shaders first.

World of Warcraft producer J. Allen Brack has said that Blizzard is taking an "iterative, organic" approach to overhauling the hit MMO's graphics, rather than building towards one big revamp.

EVE is better than WOW, says Dyack

He just can't help himself, can he?

Silicon Knights chief and Too Human mastermind Denis Dyack has told videogaming247 he thinks EVE Online is better than World of Warcraft.

Major WOW patch coming in 

Major WOW patch coming in "weeks"

Paving the way for Lich King.

In a post on the official forums, Blizzard has let World of Warcraft players know they can expect a major content update "in the coming weeks".

Similar to the "Before the Storm" patch released just before The Burning Crusade, the patch will include those features of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion that will be accessible to all players, whether they buy it or not.

The "larger features" that will appear in the patch are:

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BlizzCon panels announced

BlizzCon panels announced

More Diablo III info promised.

Blizzard has posted a preliminary line-up of the developer panels it will be running at this year's sold out BlizzCon fan convention in Los Angeles in October.

As attendees of previous BlizzCons and June's Paris Worldwide Invitational will know, the developer panels are when the secretive developer opens up and showers its fans in new information, as well as insights into its game design processes.

A panel on Diablo III class design hints that classes beyond the Witch Doctor and Barbarian will be revealed with an invitation to "see if any other champions emerge to defend the mortal world".

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Arts and Warcraft

WildStorm on the WOW graphic novel.

You might think a graphic novel series would be a logical spin-off for World of Warcraft, what with the game's unique art style and wealth of lore. And out of nearly 11 million players, surely one or two might be into comic books... But in fact it was only last November, three years after WOW's release, that the first graphic novel hit the shelves. WildStorm is now working on volume 2, with plenty of plans in the pipeline for the release of new expansion Wrath of the Lich King.

WOW friend recruitment revamped

Exclusive mount, fast levelling, free time.

Blizzard has announced extensive changes to its recruit-a-friend program for World of Warcraft, with hefty incentives on offer for both recruiter and friend.

Blizzard to start "gamerscore" system

WOW Achievements are just the beginning.

World of Warcraft lead designer Jeff Kaplan has let slip the first details of a Blizzard Account system that will track Achievements across all the publisher's games.

Lich King to release in fourth quarter

It's out between October and December.

In an earnings call with investors last week, Blizzard chief Mike Morhaime confirmed that second World of Warcraft expansion Wrath of the Lich King will release in the fourth quarter of this year.

Blizzard: WOW lost players to Conan

They're coming back though, says Morhaime.

In a conference call with investors on Thursday, Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime credited Funcom's Age of Conan with a strong launch that stole players from his own MMO, World of Warcraft.

Lich King beta keys sell for big money

Lich King beta keys sell for big money

WWI/BlizzCon gifts go for hundreds on eBay.

With the beta test for new World of Warcraft expansion Wrath of the Lich King now underway, access keys given out by Blizzard at its fan conventions are changing hands for large sums of money on eBay.

The record price paid on eBay's UK site so far is GBP 513 - that's EUR 652, or an astonishing USD 1,021.

This may have been a one-off, but keys are regularly changing hands for between GBP 150 and GBP 300.

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Another boost for WOW levelling

60-70 progression will be faster.

World of Warcraft lead designer Jeff Kaplan has confirmed in a forum post that Blizzard is "planning on speeding up levelling in the 60-70 range" in next expansion Wrath of the Lich King.

WOW Lich King talents in full

Beta starts, official talent calculator goes up.

Blizzard has published the official talent calculator for next World of Warcraft expansion Wrath of the Lich King on the game's website.

WOW achievements confirmed

WOW achievements confirmed

Plus: Latin America falls to Blizzard.

A major bit of World of Warcraft news passed us by in all the E3 hubbub last week: Blizzard confirmed that next expansion Wrath of the Lich King will introduce an achievement system to the game.

The move was strongly rumoured following a leak from the alpha test last month. Blizzard spilled the beans on WOW's official website last week.

There will be more than 500 achievements at Lich King's launch relating to every aspect of WOW, "including world exploration, PvE, PvP, professions, and character development". Some will come with cosmetic in-game rewards - tabards, vanity pets and titles are all mentioned.

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WOW passes "the Bushnell Threshold"

Atari founder's son gives up; it's all over.

As well as knocking Atari in his interview with Gamasutra, Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari and creator of Pong, has declared that MMO mega-hit World of Warcraft has just passed "the Bushnell Threshold".

Blizzard's Perfect Storm

The industry's top developer knows the merits of the confessional.

Published as part of our sister-site GamesIndustry.biz' widely-read weekly newsletter, the GamesIndustry.biz Editorial is a weekly dissection of one of the issues weighing on the minds of the people at the top of the games business. It appears on Eurogamer after it goes out to GI.biz newsletter subscribers.

Blizzard's Mike Morhaime

He runs the world's most successful developer. But what makes him nervous?

Mike Morhaime is the chief executive of Blizzard Entertainment, co-founded with his college buddies Allen Adham and Frank Pearce under the name Silicon & Synapse in 1991. Over the next 17 years it built a formidable name for itself in real-time strategy (Warcraft and StarCraft), action RPG (Diablo), and more recently massively multiplayer gaming, with World of Warcraft, the proverbial golden egg that has brought in 10 million subscribers. Blizzard is known for its perfectionism, its lengthy, iterative development process, its early embrace of online multiplayer gaming, and its staunch support of the PC and even Mac as gaming platforms.

Blizz fans won't notice merger - Morhaime

"Our focus...will remain the same."

Blizzard Entertainment CEO and co-founder Mike Morhaime has said that the company's fans "shouldn't notice any difference" following the company's upcoming merger with Activision.

Blizzard announces WOW Authenticator

Blizzard announces WOW Authenticator

Keychain security device for the paranoid.

Today's Blizzard news is that the company is to put an Authenticator device on sale to help keep World of Warcraft accounts secure.

Described as "lightweight and waterproof" - and attachable to a key chain - the Authenticator generates a unique six-digit security code at the press of a button. The code will only work with the account it's associated with, and will only work once. The code will be required at every login to the account, whether at the game client or the official website.

The Authenticator will go on sale for EUR 6 (GBP 4.75) at Blizzard's World Wide Invitational event in Paris this weekend. It will later be made available for purchase at Blizzard's online store at the same price, plus shipping.

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Conan is "steak" to WOW's "McDonald's"

Funcom's Godager ribs rivals.

In an interview with Eurogamer published today, Gaute Godager, director of Funcom's hit new MMO Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, said his game is like steak and wine when compared to the McDonald's burger and Coke that is World of Warcraft.

WOW song coming to GHIII

I Am Murloc available free today.

As Activision and Blizzard prepare to merge, we get the first sign of what executives likes to call 'synergy' between their businesses: a World of Warcraft-themed song distributed as a free downloadable on Guitar Hero III.

WOW was nearly free to play

Original plan featured ads, not a sub.

Speaking at the Game Developers Conference in Paris yesterday, Blizzard's vice president Rob Pardo revealed that World of Warcraft was originally conceived as a subscription-free game supported by advertisements, Gamasutra reports.

Rumours swirl around Blizzard teaser

Is WWI reveal Lich King or Diablo related?

With Blizzard's World Wide Invitational convention in Paris looming (it's this weekend, 28th and 29th June) the developer is stirring up hype, rumour and speculation with a teaser image on its website.

WOW to get mounts at level 30?

Plus more patch and trading card news.

The patch notes for World of Warcraft test servers indicate that the level requirement for mounts is to be lowered from 40 to 30.

WOW's Arena Season 4 dated

Fight for new armour bits.

Via a post on the official World of Warcraft forums, Blizzard has revealed that the fourth season of player-versus-player Arena combat will begin on June 24th.

Achievements coming to WOW?

So suggests Lich King alpha leak.

We wouldn't normally post details leaked from the alpha test for Wrath of the Lich King, the new World of Warcraft expansion - everything at this point is subject to change, anyway. However, this one is just too juicy to miss.

World first kill of Kil'jaeden

Burning Crusade end boss downed.

European World of Warcraft guild SK Gaming has become the first in the world to kill Kil'jaeden - the final boss of the Sunwell Plateau raid dungeon, released in the Fury of the Sunwell update two months ago.

WOW will "probably" get graphical reboot

It's under frequent consideration.

In today's interview about next expansion Wrath of the Lich King, World of Warcraft producer J. Allen Brack said that WOW will "probably" get a complete overhaul of its graphics engine in the future.

Blizz: room at the top for Conan and WAR

But a WOW-beater will need to be great.

Speaking to Eurogamer, World of Warcraft producer J. Allen Brack - currently working on second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King - has said that there's no reason this year's competing launches, Age of Conan and Warhammer Online, can't succeed alongside it.

Vivendi: Lich King due this year

But Blizzard silent on release date.

In its latest round of financial results, Blizzard owner and future Activision mergee Vivendi Games has said that Wrath of the Lich King is "scheduled to be released in the second half of 2008".

BlizzCon 2008 announced

BlizzCon 2008 announced

Third US fan convention in October.

Blizzard has announced it will be hosting a third BlizzCon fan meet on 10th and 11th October this year, in its regular venue of Anaheim, California (that's south of LA, next door to Disneyland).

The 2008 celebration of all things Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo will expand from two halls of the Anaheim Convention Centre to three, in response to public demand. That may not sound like much, but having attended the second BlizzCon in August last year, we can assure you it's massive. Some 13,000 Blizzard and World of Warcraft fans attended BlizzCon 07.

This year's event will follow the World Wide Invitational in Paris at the end of June - BlizzCon Europe in all but name.

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Uwe Boll wanted to do WOW movie

But Blizzard was quite firm.

Renegade film director Uwe Boll has told MTV that he approached Blizzard for the film rights to World of Warcraft.

World of Warcraft: Questing Self-Help

Or: how I learned to stop worrying and love the grind.

Let's be blunt: World of Warcraft is, for a lot of people, a lot of the time, a solo RPG. Whether starting a first character, casually dipping in to play old ones, or compulsively levelling "alts" in the gaps in your main hero's raiding schedule, it's a safe bet that the majority of players out there at any one time are on their own, in the wild, churning through quests. And it's also a safe bet that they're doing it wrong.

Gamer takes gold farmers to court

WOW fan targets IGE with class action suit.

According to a report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, a local World of Warcraft player is suing a gold trading firm IGE for damaging the game's economy and ruining the game experience.

Mad people forge actual WOW Epics

Paladin Tier 2 armour set, since you asked.

The official World of Warcraft website has a remarkable interview with a group of German blacksmiths called BattleHeat today; and an even more remarkable set of photographs.

The best MMO April Fools

Blizzard wins. Again.

There isn't much in the way of fresh MMO news this morning, because the world of massively multiplayer gaming spent most of yesterday trying to outdo itself - and every other section of the gaming industry - in an orgy of funny fakery. And we have to say it did rather well.

WOW Sunwell patch released

WOW Sunwell patch released

In case you hadn't noticed.

Blizzard has released the Fury of the Sunwell patch for World of Warcraft.

Official update day was yesterday, so most of the traffic should have subsided, but you can still shop around for external places to download the content if you want tip-top speeds.

Fury of the Sunwell, or patch 2.4, introduces Sunwell Isle and all of its secrets. The main attractions for the devoted adventurer will be fresh 5-man and 25-man dungeons.

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WOW is not the "end of all things"

But it is the best, says Trion boss.

In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Trion Networks chief Lars Buttler has stressed that World of Warcraft is not the be all and end all of the MMO market.

Blizzard's Samwise Didier

The art director talks Warcraft and StarCraft. And checkers.

Art is important to Blizzard. The offices of the World of Warcraft developer, currently working on RTS sequel StarCraft II, are plastered with it. Vivid, colourful and extravagant concept art is hung everywhere. The offices even have a curator, part of whose job description is to ensure that huge floor-to-ceiling pieces are displayed around the campus. One such piece is in the canteen - a jolly painting of drinking dwarves by Samwise Didier.

Blizzard previews Fury of the Sunwell

Blizzard previews Fury of the Sunwell

Mini-site now up, new trailer showing.

Blizzard has officially lifted the lid on upcoming World of Warcraft patch Fury of the Sunwell, unveiling a new mini-site and trailer.

Patch 2.4 opens the Sunwell Isle for exploration, and offers plenty of daily quests as well as 5-man and 25-man dungeons. The latter is based around super-boss Kil'Jaeden, who promises to have plenty of juicy loot.

Blizzard is also introducing Global Arena Tournaments that allow you to quickly create level 70 characters with epic equipment for a level playing field. You should notice improvements to the combat log too, which should now present information much more clearly.

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World of Warcraft

We're going to need a bigger Internet.

Unlike most other games, MMOs change over time. Audiences grow or shrink, features are changed, interfaces are overhauled, game balance is adjusted, new content and play styles are added, communities thrive or die. A review of an MMO can't be set in stone. So, on Eurogamer's new MMO channel, we'll be regularly re-reviewing the games to let you know the current state of play, and to help you decide whether it's time to jump in - or time to leave. Here's the first of these, about the biggest game: World of Warcraft.

Blizzard WWI tickets on sale Thursday

55 quid, 70 euros to attend Paris event.

Blizzard has announced that tickets for its Worldwide Invititational event in Paris in late June will go on sale this Thursday, 20th March.

What's coming in next WOW update

What's coming in next WOW update

Two new dungeons in Fury of the Sunwell.

With the next major update for World of Warcraft already live on public test servers, and with seasoned WOW-watchers expecting release towards the end of this month or some time in April, it's time to detail what players can expect to see in Fury of the Sunwell - known to decimal point fans as patch 2.4.

Blizzard isn't resting on its laurels after the sweeping changes of patch 2.3, The Gods of Zul'Aman, which was released in November last year. Fury of the Sunwell adds Sunwell Isle to the map - the first ever outdoor zone to be added to the game via a patch. The Isle, located off the northern coast of Blood Elf starting area Eversong Woods, is an adventure hub for max-level players, featuring two new dungeons, a new town and quests, and a new faction.

The first of the new instances is Magister's Terrace, a dungeon for a party of five players, offering both normal and heroic modes and a second pop at Blood Elf lord Kael'thas Sunstrider (also the boss of the raid zone in The Burning Crusade's Tempest Keep).

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Billion-dollar WOW claim is "bluff"

Former EA man says it can be beaten.

Lars Buttler, a former online chief at Electronic Arts, has dismissed claims by Activision head Bobby Kotick that it could take up to a billion dollars to compete with World of Warcraft - with no guarantee of success.

StarCraft II is Blizzard's "best work ever"

Plus new battleground and WOW story plans.

In the second of Blizzard's podcasts, or BlizzCasts, vice president of creative development Chris Metzen says that the company's forthcoming RTS sequel StarCraft II "feels like the best work we've ever done".

It could cost a billion to take on WOW

Even then it's risky, says Activision boss.

Speaking at an investor meeting, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has said that he thinks it would take an investment of half a billion to a billion dollars to take on World of Warcraft - and even then, success isn't guaranteed.

Micro-transactions "betray" players

Blizzard wants level playing field in WOW.

Blizzard's senior vice president of game design, Rob Pardo, has said players would feel "betrayed" if a micro-transaction system, of the sort common in free-to-play MMO games, was implemented in World of Warcraft.

Halifax blocks WOW subscriptions

Too much fraud, says UK bank.

The Halifax isn't giving Blizzard extra. News has emerged that the British bank is stopping automatic payments to the Californian game operator, on the grounds that World of Warcraft is at the centre of an unusually high incidence of credit card fraud.

WOW gets eSports tournament

Win cash money in Arenas.

Blizzard is to launch a global World of Warcraft tournament in April, offering cash prizes for the best players in the Arena combat system. The grand prize will be USD 75,000.

WoW subs at 9.3 million

Mr. Olympia keeps on flexing.

Vivendi financial results have shown that World of Warcraft has an active subscriber base of 9.3 million people.

WoW updated to 2.3

WoW updated to 2.3

Zul'Aman and lots more.

Blizzard has rolled its latest content update out across US World of Warcraft servers. Its European counterparts will follow soon.

Patch 2.3 brings with it a whole host of goodies, including a new dungeon called Zul'Aman; guild banks; faster levelling from 1-60; fresh Honour, Badge of Justice and gladiator rewards; and schematics for Engineers to build their own flying mounts.

There are also lots of fixes and tweaks to absorb, including the usual class, item and world fiddles. Better pop over to the official site for those, because it will take me all day to describe them.

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Blizzard details new WoW patch

Blizzard details new WoW patch

Kill trolls in Zul'Aman.

Blizzard has whipped the wraps off its upcoming content patch 2.3 for World of Warcraft.

The biggest feature is a 10-man raid instance lurking in the Ghostlands called Zul'Aman, an outdoor dungeon probably not too dissimilar to Zul'Gurub all those many moons ago. There will be six bosses to murder for epics, each bearing the aspect of a different ferocious creature.

Forest troll leader Zul'jin will meet you for the final showdown, but Blizzard also wants to offer returning raid groups a challenge with bonus rewards for completing time-limited objectives.

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GC: Film and MMOs don't mix - ArenaNet

Warns against copying WOW.

Jeff Strain, co-founder of Guild Wars developer ArenaNet, has said that MMO studios should focus on creating new worlds instead of basing games on books, TV and films.

MMO news updates

MMO news updates

Rolled into one for you.

Time stands still for those of you playing massively-multiplayer online games, but we get dizzy and fall over when trying to keep up with what's going on. So, in an effort to catch the news before it runs away from us, we've cobbled together some recent genre-specific announcements for you.

Vanguard: Saga of Heroes

Sony Online Entertainment has released the second game update for Vanguard, ahead of the big server merge starting next Tuesday morning. Full notes and details of which servers are merging and when can be found on the official site.

Read more

Plenty of life in MMOs

All-star panel says so.

In a packed Games Convention Developer's Conference today, four of the industry's leading online game developers discussed the prospect of Life After World of Warcraft, GamesIndustry.biz reports - and all agreed that there's a lot more to come for the genre.

MMO players not loners

Study talks social interaction.

Nottingham Trent University has dispelled the myth that online gamers are socially a bit backwards, GamesIndustry.biz is reporting.

South Park offers WoW trial

Box set to lure you in.

Comedy Central has revealed that the tenth series of South Park will go on sale featuring a 14-day trial for World of Warcraft.

More Lich King details emerge

More Lich King details emerge

Except that all-important date.

Blizzard has revealed a slew of fresh details on the second World of Warcraft expansion at its BlizzCon convention in Los Angeles.

Basic information about Wrath of the Lich King leaked earlier this week and was confirmed at the opening ceremony, but an audience of thousands of fans was delighted to learn more at an ensuing discussion panel with designers.

They refused to name a date for its release, however. "It'll come out when it's ready," said lead designer Tom Chilton.

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Blizzard unveils WoW expansion

Blizzard unveils WoW expansion

Wrath of the Lich King.

Blizzard has used the opening ceremony of its second BlizzCon convention to announce that the second expansion for World of Warcraft is in development. Confirming internet rumours, it's to be titled Wrath of the Lich King, and open the northern continent of Northrend.

Details of the expansion are exactly as revealed in the FAQ that leaked earlier this week: new Death Knight hero class, new arenas and battlegrounds, siege weaponry and destructible buildings, customisable hairstyles and dances, a new Inscription profession, and the increase of the level cap from 70 to 80.

In addition, Blizzard confirmed that integrated voice communication and guild banks would be introduced to WoW in regular patch updates, along with a new 10-man instance, Zul'Aman.

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Blizzard announcement tonight

Blizzard announcement tonight

We wonder what it is.

Vivendi has alerted press that Blizzard will be making an "exciting" announcement tonight at 20:00 UK time.

There's no word on what it will be, but it could be confirmation of the top secret no-one-knows-about-it World of Warcraft expansion Wrath of the Lich King.

The announcement will kick-off events at this year's BlizzCon event in Ahaheim, California - taking place today and tomorrow.

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Blizz quiet on WoW expansion

Blizz quiet on WoW expansion

Won't talk about Lich King.

Blizzard has declined to comment on rumours that a new World of Warcraft expansion is on the way.

Said rumours emerged after German ratings website Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle (USK) produced a listing for a demo apparently on show at the Leipzig Games Convention in late August.

The expansion is apparently called World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, and is filed in the "add-on" genre for PC.

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WoW South Park up for Emmy

Episode is series' sixth nom.

The episode of South Park that showed the familiar potty-mouthed children becoming hopelessly addicted to World of Warcraft has been nominated for an Emmy.

Woman charged over WOW love

She was 31, he was 17.

An Australian woman who forged a relationship with a younger World of Warcraft player has been arrested in the US as she attempted to meet with the chap and his family.

Blizzard quiet on Diablo film

Legendary Pictures fibbing?

Blizzard has remained tight-lipped over rumours that a Diablo film is in development, telling Eurogamer it had "no comment to make on this".

WOW adds Black Temple

Take on super-boss Illidan.

Blizzard has revealed that patch 2.1.0 for World of Warcraft will introduce the Black Temple as an instance, home of Illidan The Betrayer.

BlizzCon 2007 details

BlizzCon 2007 details

Second convention in August.

Blizzard has announced plans for its second BlizzCon gaming convention today, which will take place at the Anaheim Convention Center on the 3rd and 4th of August.

Everyone from age four and up is invited along to celebrate the company's biggest and best franchises, enjoying a wide variety of different activities from dressing up to sound-alike contests.

Tickets are expected to go on sale on the official website in the next few months, and will cost you USD 100 per person.

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Burning Crusade sells 3.5 million

Burning Crusade sells 3.5 million

In the first month on sale.

World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade sold 3.5 million units in its first month on sale, Blizzard has announced.

European gamers snaffled up more than 1.6 million of those, America over 1.9 million, and Australasia topped 100,000. The game launched in Korea on 12th February, and is currently being translated for Chinese regions.

The figures smashed previous records for PC game sales, and have helped push the subscriber population of the game over 8.5 million.

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Blizzard sues Glider creator

WoW bot program breaks rules.

In an effort to stop players breaking the rules of World of Warcraft, Blizzard has set out to sue WoW Glider creator Michael Donnelly and his company MDY Industries.

Alienware revises WoW PCs

Epic loot. You could win one, too.

"Horde or Alliance? You decide," says Alienware, suggesting that the PC manufacturer certainly got as far as the character tool when it was putting together its epic new Warcraft edition PCs - ten of which it's giving away for free.

The EGTV Show - Episode 7

World of Warcraft: The Truth.

Tabloids will shriek with knee-jerk indignation at the release of Jack Thompson-bating fare like Manhunt 2; but the sinister, surreptitious mind-control peddled by MMO creators is shamefully waved on with tacit approval by a media blinded to the massive threat to humanity this subtly destructive genre represents.

Man chooses WoW over childbirth

"Five more minutes." - him

World of Warcraft is in the seat of blame again - this time on the Tyra Banks Show, where a concerned wife has been telling tales of woe about her addicted husband.

Blizzard's next MMO 'won't be another WoW' - exec

Bassat promises something new.

Not content with committing the ultimate sin and mentioning unannounced games the other day, Blizzard's vice president of development Itzik Ben Bassat has dropped hints about the company's next MMOG.

The Flame Game

That Burning Crusade launch in full.

Last night, HMV Oxford Street found itself surrounded by warlocks and orcs, warriors and night elves, paladins and mages and priests.

WoW TBC midnight launch plans

WoW TBC midnight launch plans

Unwashed to storm retail outlets.

Walking around dressed as a Murloc has its ups and downs. Fortunately for us we can be amongst our own kind this coming Monday evening, as we queue up outside Oxford Street's HMV for our exclusive copy of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade.

At Midnight on 15th of January, French devotees will storm FNAC (74 Ave des Champs Elysées, Paris); German fanatics will pound Media Markt (10627 Berlin- Charlottenburg, Krumme Straße 48 ); Swedish champions shall trample EB Games Gallerian (Hamngatan 37, Stockholm); and UK adventures will conquer HMV (150 Oxford Street): all hoping to be the among the first to get their fantasy fingers on The Burning Crusade.

Each country will launch WoW's first expansion with a bang. Those in London will be able to natter with developers and designers, take part in a unique Gurky the baby Murloc giveaway (the unsung hero of the game), stand a chance of winning an exclusive T-shirt, and receive demonstrations of the popular WoW trading card game.

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WoW: Burning Crusade cinematic

Smouldering on EGTV.

Blizzard's released a corking cinematic introduction movie for World of Warcraft expansion The Burning Crusade, ahead of the add-on's January 16 launch.

Blizzard launches WOW stats

Can't get enough of that World of Warcraft eh? Perhaps you're sitting at your desk at work, poring over forums, imagining all the clicking on boar while typing "lolhats" you're going to do when you get home. You disgust me.

Still, you might as well have some fun while you're at it, and to that end you can now trawl Blizzard's giant WOW game stats page, which offers statistical breakdowns as well as side-by-side comparisons of all sorts of different game elements.

So there's the most auctioned items, the most created items, the most dangerous NPCs, the most gathered items, the most looted items, and the most completed quests. It's the sort of information that Blizzard uses to keep track of what's going on in Azeroth, and, well, now it's available to you.

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Irwin to get WOW tribute

Seven players signed up.

The inhabitants of Azeroth are set to pay a very special tribute to dead crocodile hunter Steve Irwin.

GC: WOW Factor

Blizzard's Paul Sams on why 6 million subscribers can't be wrong.

It's odd to learn that Blizzard Entertainment might be wary of taking on a new challenge. After all, the decision to create a Warcraft MMORPG, despite the huge amounts of time, money and risk involved, worked out rather well.

GC: New WOW expansion every year - Blizzard

GC: New WOW expansion every year - Blizzard

Plus, Burning Crusade date talk.

Blizzard COO Paul Sams has told our sister-site GamesIndustry.biz that the company plans to release a new expansion pack for multi-million selling MMO World of Warcraft every year.

Speaking in an exclusive interview, Sams said, "Starting with The Burning Crusade, every year thereafter we plan on bringing out a new expansion set - so every 12 months."

The Burning Crusade is the first expansion pack to be released for WOW. According to Sams, details of the beta will be announced in the near future. As for the release date - "We're still quoting very confidently winter and we will be more specific on the timeframe quite soon."

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59,000 WOW accounts banned

Swept away by a, er, oh, um, hrm, I dunno, whirlwind?

Ever forgiving Blizzard popped up earlier this week to absently mention that it's banned 59,000 World of Warcraft accounts during June.

WOW realm transfer option

Now available to Euro players.

European World of Warcraft players now have the option to move their characters between different realms - just like their American counterparts.

WOW realm transfer goes live

In a limited way, in the US.

Those of you hoping to transfer your World of Warcraft characters from one server to another are one step closer - and if you're American you're already there!

Blizzard's new ideas for WOW

Realm transfer and PvP plans.

Blizzard is preparing to unveil a new transfer system that's designed to let World of Warcraft players move characters to less populated realms - for a $25 fee.

New WOW patch out now

New WOW patch out now

Includes new raid dungeon.

Blizzard has released a new patch for stupidly popular MMORPG World of Warcraft.

Highlights of patch 1.11 include new flight paths, tier 3 raid armour sets, and updated talents for Mages and Shamen. There's also a new 40-man raid instance, titled Naxxramas.

You can read the full patch notes over on the official WOW website. The patch is available for download via Eurofiles.

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WOW summer festival kicks off

Time to get all fired up.

Calling all World of Warcraft fans: today sees the start of the Midsummer Fire Festival, an event that celebrates ancient magic and old tradition and really big bonfires.

No one can compete with WOW

Says very important THQ person.

THQ has no plans to release any MMO games in the near future, according to CEO Brian Farrell - since there's no point while everyone's still going mental for World of Warcraft.

Play World of Warcraft for free

Well, for ten days, anyway.

All the best crack peddlers know that you must speculate to accumulate - offer the first hit for free and two weeks later they'll be begging for more and borrowing money off Carol Vorderman's loans company to pay for it.

Blizzard, Squenix take action

Against greedy old cheats.

It seems that cheating within online games still abounds as both Blizzard and Square-Enix take steps to stop naughty gold farmers and gil traders in their tracks.

Blizzard drops gold farming suit

Man allowed to sell WOW guide.

Blizzard Entertainment has reached a settlement with a Florida man who was blocked from selling an unofficial World of Warcraft guide.

New WOW patch coming

New WOW patch coming

It's all about the pesky Scourge.

Blizzard has revealed more details of Shadow of the Necropolis update, otherwise known as patch 1.11, for stupidly popular MMORPG World of Warcraft.

Apparently the Scourge is launching a direct attack on Azeroth, causing all kinds of havoc in Azshara, Blasted Lands, Burning Steppes, Eastern Plaguelands, Tanaris and Winterspring.

If you want to defend Azeroth, you'll need to talk to an Argent Dawn representative, who'll be able to tell you where your help is most needed. "It is up to you now to become the fire that burns against the cold, the light of hope that prevails beneath the shadow of the necropolis!". Righto.

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Blizzard man talks WOW movie

It's for fans and non-fans alike.

Blizzard bigwig Paul Sams has declared that the World of Warcraft movie is coming along nicely, thank you - and that unlike most big screen game adaptations, it won't be completely rubbish.

New WOW race unveiled

And the winner is... The Draenei!

Blizzard has confirmed that the new Alliance race for World of Warcraft expansion The Burning Crusade is in fact the Draenei, putting an end to the speculation, rumour and fervent debate on the subject.

Warcraft movie on the way

Hit MMO heads to the big screen.

Yes, yet another videogame is getting turned into a movie - and this time it's the turn of hit PC MMO World of Warcraft.

2005 UK Sales Review

2005 UK Sales Review

Part Three: PC, Xbox 360, and the year ahead.

Concluding our coverage of Chart-Track's annual report, today Kristan picks his way through the PC market, the burgeoning Xbox 360 market, and any other markets he can find. He was round here the other day admiring fish and everything. Multi-Market Reed we used to call him. I'm not saying he's promiscuous though. He is, but I'm not saying that. All data (and trout) from Chart-Track's annual report. Used with permission. And in Fisherman's Pies.

Personally concerned

The steady decline of the PC software market was in evidence once again in 2005, with the total market share (by value) of all PC software (including non-games packages from the likes of Norton) representing just 24.6 per cent. By contrast, back in 1999, this figure was a whopping 41 per cent, although the actual money spent by consumers has remained roughly unchanged since that time (£299.188m in 2005, versus £290.316m in 1999, when you were clearly a bit stingier). Compared to last year, sales are down from their all-time value peak of £310.856m, which is a curious statistic when you consider that the actual installed base of PCs across the country has never been higher, broadband penetration has been soaring and prices of PCs are at rock bottom.

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5400 WOW players banned

Plus: new patch news.

Blizzard has banned more than 5400 World of Warcraft players from the game for good as part of plans to clamp down on gold farming and cheating in general.

WOW downloader updated

WOW downloader updated

Following series of complaints.

The World of Warcraft downloader has been updated after disgruntled players accused Blizzard of using it to steal their bandwidth.

A change introduced in the recently released patch 1.10 meant that the downloader ran constantly - even if the program was closed.

In a post on the Blizzard forums, WOW player Buronimo wrote: "So I was playing Wednesday morning after installing the 1.10 patch and in the middle of playing my firewall says that Blizzard Downloader is trying to make an outgoing connection.

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WOW gets new patch

WOW gets new patch

And Azeroth gets weather.

Blizzard has issued a new patch for World of Warcraft which will bring weather effects to Azeroth for the first time.

Well, certain areas of Azeroth, anyway - such as Elwynn Forest, Dun Morogh, Darkshor, Un'Goro Crater and Tanaris. But Blizzard "will be adding more weather to the world as time progresses," apparently.

Patch v1.10 also introduces new rare epic armour sets to dungeons, plus all-new bosses. Various items have been enhanced and some drop rates have been increased, too.

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Blizzard says sorry to WOW fan

Over gay-friendly guild row.

Blizzard has apologised to a World of Warcraft player who was given an official warning for attempting to set up an in-game guild which welcomed lesbian, gay and bisexual members.