Home is a curious concept. Generally, we use the term to suggest a snuggly place that feels like ours. Where we can feel comfortable and secure. In many ways, it's as emotive a word as love. People use it sparingly. It truly means something to use it to describe a location. Understandably, if your parents' home doesn't feel like your home any more, you're liable to call it something different than you may have as a child. And yet, often, at Christmas, people with their own homes will still describe themselves as 'going home for Christmas' when they explain they're staying with their parents for a few days.
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.
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*.
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.
At some point in 2007, I become hopelessly addicted to World of Warcraft.
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?
I'd tried saving the hard way, and it wasn't working. That glowing skeletal horse seemed permanently out of reach, so I kept dipping in.
"You can never go back. Or can you?" I wrote when I named World of Warcraft my game of the generation. It turns out that you can. I have.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When people started writing comic books I'm not sure they all believed that comic books were going to last very long. They certainly wrote them like they didn't believe that, anyway, as the youthful four-colour energy of a brand new art form was often chained to thrillingly short-termist thinking. Promising villains were killed off with ink-smudged abandon. Unlikely plot twists piled on unlikely plot twists. No care was spent on tomorrow or the day after. Kabam!
"It's certainly possible to release content too quickly."