World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria

Spotlight

Key events

16th December 2011

Blizzard announces BattleTags

FeatureWorld of Warcraft and the masterplan for Sylvanas

"I've heard on the internet 'she's going off the rails', but is she?"

Whenever World of Warcraft Horde warchief Sylvanas Windrunner was mentioned at BlizzCon 2018, division swept the room. Some people booed, some people cheered. Sylvanas is on a genocidal rampage, you see, and it's caused a schism in the Horde. Some people follow her - and will to the ends of the, um, Azeroth - while others openly rebel under the hashtag Not My Warchief.

FeatureHow World of Warcraft is changing Warcraft 3: Reforged

A simple remake wouldn't have taken Arthas long.

For months I ran the Stratholme dungeon in World of Warcraft, over and over through the burning city, through the big gate towards the corrupted paladin lord Baron Rivendare and his coveted skeletal horse. But all the time I never really knew why. I never really knew the significance of the place, that it was the turning point for famous paladin Arthas on his path to to the dark side, to becoming Lich King. But I would have had I played Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos*.

How World of Warcraft: Classic's patch content will roll out, and more

When World of Warcraft: Classic launches next summer, the only raids available will be Onyxia and Molten Core. It will be, in other words, as World of Warcraft was circa March 2005.

It's notable because although World of Warcraft: Classic is built on the foundation of patch 1.12 from August 2006, it will actually take many months for WOW Classic to reach a similar point-in-time content-wise.

There will be "waves" of content, Blizzard said in a WOW Classic panel (available to watch if you're a Virtual Ticket owner) at BlizzCon 2018. Here's how it looks currently:

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FeatureFace to face with the President of Virtual Reality

"I am championing the rights of the people."

In a modernist hotel lobby on the outskirts of Barcelona I sit face to face with the President. He's pretty casual as far as presidents go, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, wearing sunglasses even though we're inside. He's got a tattoo up the underside of his forearm which reads 'Neverdie'. It's his alias, but more of a name to him now than Jon Jacobs ever will be. He is President of Virtual Reality. It has nothing to do with Oculus Rift or VR goggles, and it's not some silly title in a game. President of Virtual Reality means president of all virtual realities - World of Warcraft, Eve Online, Destiny, the lot.

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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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)?

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.

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.

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

FeatureWatch 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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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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World of Warcraft patch 6.1 brings colourblind support

What if your eyes can't immediately see the difference between a Rare and Epic piece of loot in World of Warcraft because you're colourblind? What if you can't quickly see whether characters are hostile or friendly?

In World of Warcraft patch 6.1, due 24th February, Blizzard is addressing that, by adding special colourblind filters and optional text tips to the game.

There will be filters for protanopia, deuteranopia, and tritanopia. You'll find them in the new Accessibility interface configuration section, and you can customise them.

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FeatureWorld 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.

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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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.

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..

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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FeatureHave 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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FeatureWhy are we stuck with games being released on a Friday?

An investigation into the origins, arguments and potential for change.

For as long as most folk remember, games have launched on Fridays in the UK and on Tuesday in the US. That's the way of things. Sometimes they converge for a glitzy worldwide launch but mostly they don't - they stick to the norm, and Europeans wait.

Diablo 3 has sold over 10 million copies

Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm to miss 2012 release.

Activision Blizzard announced in its most recent earnings report that Diablo 3 had sold over 10 million copies as of 30th September. It was the top-selling PC game in both dollars and units in the U.S. and Europe.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria week one sales less than Cataclysm's day one

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria week one sales less than Cataclysm's day one

2.7 million in seven days compared to 3.3 million in a day.

World of Warcraft expansion Mists of Pandaria has failed to match the sales records set by previous add-on Cataclysm.

Pandaria sold 2.7 million copies during its first week on sale. That's nothing to be scoffed at - but certainly nowhere near the 3.3 million Cataclysm sold during its first day.

The launch of Pandaria has - for now - boosted player numbers back above the magic 10 million user mark, Blizzard announced.

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World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria review

At first, it seemed juvenile - almost a joke. Prior to the release of Mists of Pandaria, the fourth expansion for World of Warcraft, many players shared the concern that the inclusion of the Pandaren race of anthropomorphic kung-fu pandas represented one dumbing-down too far for this beloved world. It seemed to show a cartoonish disregard for the warmongering history of the eternal feuds between the Alliance, the Horde and whatever imposing faction each expansion introduced.

Quite the reverse. Instead of blunting the established world, the inclusion of this quieter race has allowed Blizzard to tell a story with a maturity and depth any long-term player would have believed Warcraft was incapable of. Until now the game has been defined by adolescent drama, yet this is a remarkably human tale that manages to combine apparently mundane scene-setting with emotional turmoil. Blizzard's ability to take a seemingly inconsequential side-quest and inject genuine heartache further on down the line represents new and welcome ground.

While the storyline overall may be more self-assured, where this new expansion catches a heel on the catwalk is in the laborious nature of that storytelling. Frustratingly, the way your objectives unfold in the continent Pandaria as you progress towards the new level cap of 90 is an evolutionary regression for a game that has learned in recent years to shower its audience in a delicious river of experience opportunities.

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UK chart: FIFA 13 sells 1 million copies in a week

UK chart: FIFA 13 sells 1 million copies in a week

Boots Borderland 2 from top spot.

Annual football fiesta FIFA 13 has sold a million copies during its first week on sale in the UK.

It becomes the fourth game in history to do this, following Call of Duty titles Black Ops, Modern Warfare 2 and 3.

Video game sales jumped by 196 per cent in the past seven days. FIFA 13 accounted for 71 per cent of all games sold and 80 per cent of all revenue from game sales - both of these figures are higher than last year.

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EGXChallenge FIFA 13 developers on Virgin Media stand at Eurogamer Expo

Plus: Feature as a driver in GRID 2 and try Mists of Pandaria.

With around a fortnight to go until this year's Eurogamer Expo, our headline sponsor Virgin Media has announced what it's going to be doing on the show floor, and it's not just a bunch of variations on the Usain lightning Bolt gesture. (Although...)

Blizzard's lavish cinematic unveiled for World of Warcraft expansion Mists of Pandaria

Blizzard has unleashed the cinematic introduction video for fourth World of Warcraft expansion Mists of Pandaria.

Renowned for lavish visual productions, Blizzard pulls no punches here. The Pandaren race and land are introduced in gorgeous fashion.

First, there's a Horde versus Alliance battle at sea. Both boats are wrecked, and a lone survivor from each clambers to shore. They're in unknown territory - a strange, jungle-dense land.

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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.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria release date

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria release date

Updated with Collector's Edition details.

The fourth World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria, will be released on Tuesday, 25th September, Blizzard has just announced.

The expansion will be available for both PC (Windows 7, Vista, XP) and Mac. The suggested RRP is £29.99. You'll be able to buy the expansion both in shops and from Blizzard's online store.

A Collector's Edition will sell for £59.99.

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World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria beta invites sent out

Blizzard has sent out the first wave of invites for the World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria beta.

So far, these invites are limited to WOW Annual Pass holders, press, fansites, and friends and family.

Blizzard plans to invite Annual Pass holders in waves over the course of the beta test. It will decide who goes first based on a number of factors, including how long your WOW account has been active and when you signed up for the Annual Pass.

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Eurogamer.net Podcast 105: WOW Pandas!

All the gossip from our trip to Blizzard HQ last week.

Hello! Welcome to the one hundred and fifth Eurogamer Dot Net Podcast, in which we successfully wrestle John Bedford in front of a camera (not without complaint) to talk about his recent trip to Blizzard's HQ in Irvine, California, to see next World of Warcraft expansion Mists of Pandaria.

WOW: Mists of Pandaria Preview: Blizzard's Eastern Promises

To Blizzard's credit, it hasn't shied away from addressing the quizzical looks that many players assumed following the announcement at BlizzCon 2011 that the Pandaren - a panda-like race that debuted in an April Fool's joke - would be the focus of World of Warcraft's fourth expansion. That a peaceful, innocent race quietly munching away on bamboo in the isolated mists of the Isle of Pandaria should be a necessary component in the promised grand vision of a return to war between the Alliance and Horde faction is a theme that jarred for many.

At last week's preview event for the upcoming fourth expansion, we got more than a little extra of the message that somehow struggled to make it from those attending BlizzCon to those receiving the information at home.

It starts with the world itself, and the art of Pandaria is predictably drawn from Eastern architectural influences - pagodas and paddy fields, decorated with deep reds and delicate ornaments. While the rugged and Nordic Northrend was a high point for Blizzard's artistic vision, it's arguably been trumped by the efforts in this new expansion - a Great Wall of Pandaria strides across a zone, factional hubs are occupied by cutlass-wielding stone giants, and hanging bells and blossom trees adorn the pagodas and outcrops of the land. Bejewelled and beguiling, it's a pristine and intricate look, with a far greater focus on the finer details than the broad texture swathes that have typically dominated WOW's art style in the past.

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FeatureBuilding 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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Blizzard's Street defends WOW talents revamp

Old model "fundamentally flawed and unfixable".

The lead systems designer of World of Warcraft has mounted a frank and detailed defence of the revamp to talents coming in next expansion Mists of Pandaria in a lengthy blog post.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Preview

FeatureWorld 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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WOW talent trees to be scrapped, redone

New Monk class can fill any role.

Blizzard has revealed that it's scrapping the talent system that's been a cornerstone of World of Warcraft's character class design, in some form or other, since the game launched in 2004.

Murderball, DOTA variants for WOW PVP

Mists of Pandaria battlegrounds branch out.

Blizzard has unveiled a broad ranged of new battleground game styles planned for next World of Warcraft expansion Mists of Pandaria.

WOW's Pokemon-style pet battles

New mini-game for Mists of Pandaria.

Blizzard has unveiled a new pet battling system for World of Warcraft's next expansion, Mists of Pandaria, which bears a striking resemblance to Nintendo's Pokemon games.

WOW: Mists of Pandaria announced

WOW: Mists of Pandaria announced

Pandaren race and Monk class in add-on.

The next, and fourth, World of Warcraft expansion has been announced at BlizzCon: Mists of Pandaria.

It introduces the "joke" race of kung-fu pandas of Warcraft lore, the Pandarens, as a playable race. Apparently, Pandarens will be playable as either Alliance or Horde.

There'll also be a new character class, the Monk, a martial artist. Monks will be able to specialise as damage dealers, healers or tanks.

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