Early last year Blizzard stamped out an unofficial vanilla World of Warcraft server project called Nostalrius. But it didn't go quietly.
Late to the Party goes to Azeroth.
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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.
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.
Chris Bratt has now interviewed Blizzard about World of Warcraft Classic servers. He even asked J. Allen Brack about his infamous "you think you want it but you don't" statement, which he once made about legacy servers. Chortle, chortle.
The BlizzCon 2017 opening ceremony - the place for this year's major Blizzard announcements - will take place Friday, 3rd November at 6pm GMT. And as always we'll be both in the audience there and in our office here covering it live.
Due to hurricanes Harvey and Irma, flooding in South Asia, and "countless other crises" around the world, Blizzard has decided this year's World of Warcraft charity drive cannot wait. Instead of releasing the new charity pet alongside BlizzCon in November, Shadow the Fox is available for 'adoption' now.
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.
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.
Blizzard has emerged victorious in a long-running lawsuit against Bossland, a German company that creates cheats for online games.
Overnight, World of Warcraft players noticed something odd. They noticed enemies' health amounts changing depending on who was fighting them. The higher a player's item level, the more health the enemy would have. In other words, enemies were scaling to a player's gear.
Blizzard has decided to do away with the name Battle.net and simply call the platform Blizzard. It was a bit old fashioned.
World of Warcraft WoW Tokens can now be redeemed for a brand new currency called Battle.net Balance, which can be spent in other Blizzard games. You can use your Battle.net Balance to buy a loot box in Overwatch, for example - it's already one of the drop-down payment options.
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.
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.
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 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?
To commemorate its 25th anniversary Blizzard Entertainment has erected a statue of World of Warcraft villain Lich King Arthas Menethil in Taiwan.
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.
When it comes to video games, World of Warcraft is probably my biggest cultural blind spot. I'm aware of how significant Blizzard's MMO is and how much it's impacted lives across the world (who isn't) but beyond that, I'm a babe lost in the woods.
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 Duncan Jones Warcraft movie may be on course to flop in America (where it opens 10th June) but in China it's bigger than Star Wars: The Force Awakens - it's massive! Perhaps we'll see sequels after all.
In discussing a World of Warcraft: Legion spider mount that costs a whopping 2m gold, assistant game director Ion Hazzikostas gave a glimpse behind the curtain at what it takes to keep millions of players happy.
The Warcraft movie recreates a number of locations from the game upon which it is based, including, wait for it, Goldshire Inn!
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 game servers were overloaded and brought down by a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack overnight that hacker group Lizard Squad appears to have claimed responsibility for.
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).
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.
UPDATE 3/11/15 5.00pm Here's a quick glimpse at the trailer, due Friday. Behold, 15 seconds of Warcraft movie footage plus analysis from our Blizzard buff Chris Bratt:
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?
World of Warcraft subscribers dropped down to 5.6 million at the end of June 2015, Activision Blizzard announced in its latest financial report.
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.
Off-screen footage of the Warcraft movie by Legendary Pictures has leaked from San Diego Comic-Con.
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.
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.
Feast your eyes on Orgrim, the orc warchief in the upcoming Warcraft movie.
The infamous Honorbuddy bot plaguing World of Warcraft appears to have been beaten.
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.
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.
The Warcraft film, inspired by World of Warcraft, has suffered a delay. It was due out in March 2016 and now it's due out in June 2016 - 10th June specifically, reported Variety.
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.
If you buy a $20 World of Warcraft Token in North America right now you can sell it for 21,410 gold - in less than 30 minutes - using the game's Auction House.
World of Warcraft's new Token system, in which you can exchange said Tokens for game-time or in-game currency, will be live today at 10am PST in the Americas, Blizzard has announced.
World of Warcraft will soon sell WoW Tokens, a new in-game item that lets players exchange gold and game time between each other.
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.
World of Warcraft maker Blizzard has raised more than $1.9m (£1.25m) for the Red Cross Ebola relief fund.
Have you played World of Warcraft from launch and ever since? Well stop it! Do something else! But really, if you have, you're in for a treat - a one-off special gift from Blizzard.
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.
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.
Ever find yourself flipping a card in Hearthstone, or whacking a giant leg in World of Warcraft, and wondering who that character is and why they're important?
Star Blizzard developer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street has been hired by League of Legends maker Riot Games as joint lead game designer with Ryan Morello.
Blizzard has made a change to parental account controls that, by default, set kids' accounts to 'not allowed to buy stuff'.
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.
Behold, the cast of the Warcraft film, as revealed by movie makers Legendary and Universal (and Slashfilm).
The World of Warcraft movie, simply titled "Warcraft", has received the new release date of 11th March, 2016, Variety reports.
Blizzard has ruled out making massively multiplayer online game World of Warcraft free-to-play.
Action role-playing game Diablo 3 has sold over 14 million copies, Blizzard Entertainment has announced.
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.
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..
By selling 3 million copies in nine months, Guild Wars 2 has been crowned - by research company DFC Intelligence - the fastest-selling Western MMO of all time.
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.
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.
A cyber psychologist has called on the developers of massively multiplayer online role-playing games to help prevent addiction by tweaking their design.
"NOW FOR YOU, INSECTS! BOLDLY, YOU SOUGHT THE POWER OF RAGNAROS. NOW YOU SHALL SEE IT FIRSTHAND!"
The number of World of Warcraft monthly subscribers has dropped to 7.7 million, Activision Blizzard has revealed.
Shoot those PDW-57s in the air because, in a huge financial move, Activision Blizzard has bought its independence from Vivendi.
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.
Blizzard is considering adding in-game micro-transactions to massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft.
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.
Blizzard has issued a security warning after MMO World of Warcraft suffered from an increase in unauthorised account logins.
World of Warcraft saw a decline of approximately 1.3 million subscribers in the quarter ending 31st March 2013, Activision revealed in its latest financial report.
BlizzCon 2013 tickets will go on sale in two batches later this month.
Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) replaced Sam Raimi (Tobey Maguire Spider-Man) as the director of the World of Warcraft film earlier this year. But we never really knew why - until now.
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.
Activision cast doubt on a 2013 launch for Bungie's hotly anticipated new game Destiny during its annual money meeting last night.
Joyland, the once rumoured unlicensed World of Warcraft theme park in Changzhou, China actually exists. Even better, someone went to it and lived to tell the tale.
Blizzard wants the Heroes of Warcraft domain but someone else owns it.
Underground fighting rings where you alone can face some of the toughest monsters in World of Warcraft will soon be added to the game.
There have been mass deaths in the cities of World of Warcraft. Piles and piles of skeletons littered the floors around the murderers - level 1 characters who killed everything, players and AI characters alike, without lifting a finger.
A group of Republican have started a smear campaign over Maine state Senate candidate Colleen Lachowicz because she (gasp) plays World of Warcraft.
Iran has been blocked from accessing World of Warcraft, Blizzard has confirmed. United States trade restrictions and economic sanctions prohibit it.
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.
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.
Sam Raimi, director of the recent Spider-Man film trilogy, will no longer call the shots on the World of Warcraft movie.
A developer has turned World of Warcraft into a series of Google Maps.
The infamous Leeroy Jenkins moment, born in World of Warcraft but spread far beyond, has been re-imagined as a modern day short film.
The dip in World of Warcraft subscriber numbers "has to at least be attributable to [Star Wars] The Old Republic", Blizzard acknowledged, speaking to Eurogamer last week.
World of Warcraft, the actual game, may yet be adapted and made playable on iPhone, a determined Blizzard told Eurogamer.
Blizzard has announced an new World of Warcraft Scroll of Resurrection initiative to entice back old players.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With World of Warcraft expansion Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard will overhaul a character talent (extra ability) system that has existed for seven years.
World of Warcraft is seven years old on 23rd November.
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.
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.
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?
Money made by subscriptions to European and American MMOs has, for the very first time, fallen.
SteelSeries has announced a new £70 Legendary Edition of its World of Warcraft MMO gaming mouse.
Sales of World of Warcraft Cenarion Hatchling pet have raised over a million pounds for the Japan tsunami and earthquake relief fund, Blizzard has announced.
In October 2010, World of Warcraft reached 12 million subscribers. By the end of March 2011, that number decreased to 11.4 million.
Are those pesky panderan panda-people finally coming to World of Warcraft?
Blizzard is testing a new Real ID Party feature in World of Warcraft.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The number of people subscribing to World of Warcraft has decreased, Blizzard has revealed.
Titan may be but a whisper on the lips of Blizzard - but the MMO to "eclipse" World of Warcraft is already playable.
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.
Happy 20th, Blizzard.
Blizzard, perhaps the finest game maker on the planet, has turned 20 years old.
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.
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.
A Chinese theme park featuring lavish Warcraft and StarCraft themed areas may be in development.
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.
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.
Think World of Warcraft: Cataclysm's Heroic dungeons are too hard? You're not the only one. But Blizzard isn't changing them.
Win all this stuff!
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.
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.
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!"
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.
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?
Games industry trade association TIGA has responded to Panorama's investigation into video game addiction.
Struggling to find Christmas presents? Why not "give the gift of Warcraft?" Blizzard has slashed prices specially.
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.
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.
More than 12 million people subscribe to fantasy role-playing MMO World of Warcraft, developer Blizzard has announced.
EA has slammed bitter rival Activision after CEO Bobby Kotick accused the Medal of Honor publisher of "suffocating studios".
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Blizzard's fifth annual fan convention BlizzCon 2010 will take place on 22nd and 23rd October.
Blizzard has said World of Warcraft heading to consoles is "unlikely" - a line we've heard almost annually since WOW-time began.
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.
Blizzard has revealed that only 30 per cent of new World of Warcraft players make it past level 10.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 could be moving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas next year, if the Las Vegas Convention Centre is to be believed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Blizzard has detailed its ambitious new dungeon system for World of Warcraft and launched the Race Change service.
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.
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.
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.
The Chinese World of Warcraft servers are back online after an enforced two-month hiatus while the government checked out a swap in local operators.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A London psychiatrist has proposed offering in-game addiction therapy to young World of Warcraft players.
Sam Raimi has signed up to direct the movie based on stupidly popular MMO World of Warcraft.
PopCap has announced the release of 10 special World of Warcraft-themed levels for Peggle.
Chinese online gamers have been without World of Warcraft for a month now, thanks to a problematic handover to a new operator in the region.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Chinese government has put an outright ban on gold farming, outlawing all trading of virtual currency for real money.
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."
Blizzard has revealed that the next new battleground for World of Warcraft, the Isle of Conquest, will support up to 80 players.
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.
Blizzard has announced that the regional World of Warcraft 3v3 Arena and Warcraft III finals will be held in Cologne, Germany between 26th and 28th June.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PopCap has released an impressive Peggle add-on for World of Warcraft.
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.
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).
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.
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.
A wealthy World of Warcraft player will pay a wage to anyone who can fulfil his "Guild Director" real-life job requirements.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The MMO genre has cemented PC gaming as the most lucrative of our industry, according to new research by the PC Gaming Alliance and Screen Digest.
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.
Confirming our suspicions, Worlds.com has revealed that it intends to sue Blizzard and Linden Labs if its patent suit against NCsoft is successful.
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.
Dragons. Wise, majestic and graceful beings entrusted by the Titans to watch over Azeroth in their absence. If you have even a cursory knowledge of World of Warcraft, you'll know that dragons frequently play an important part in events. However, today we come not to praise them but rather to bury them, for majestic they may be, but all too often they're either irredeemably evil or completely insane (usually both) and, more importantly, they tend to carry a fabulous amount of gold and loot on them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With the latest World of Warcraft expansion Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard's stated aim has been to get more people involved in the game's top-tier "raid" dungeons. It's made all of them accessible to 10-player groups, and attempted to smooth their notoriously steep difficulty curves. In the first of an occasional series aimed at the novice raider, we present a tour of Lich King's "starter" raid, Naxxramas, in its 10-man version.
According to a post on the F13 forums, employers are specifically requesting recruitment consultants not to send them World of Warcraft players.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Call of Duty: World at War has charged to the top of the UK all-formats chart this week, becoming the third fastest-selling game ever in the region.
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.
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?
World of Warcraft has its first official level 80 on live servers: Nymh, a warlock on the European French-language server Drek'thar.
Last night, London's midnight launch event for World of Warcraft expansion Wrath of the Lich King attracted the biggest UK crowds HMV could remember seeing.
A spokesperson told us he estimated around 2000 - 2500 rat-punchers queued to get their hands on the game. The previous record, coincidentally enough, was set by previous World of Warcraft expansion The Burning Crusade, which gathered flocks of around 1500 people.
But London wasn't the only city to welcome the high profile release; San Francisco, New York and Paris all ran similar shindigs. And each sprouted lines of adoring attendees decked out in all manner of World of Warcraft-related costumes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime has said the people who left World of Warcraft for pastures Warhammer Online and Age of Conan are returning home.
Blizzard has announced details of midnight openings for the launch of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King on 13th November.
The UK event takes place at HMV on Oxford Street in London, where COO Paul Sams and associate producer Lee Sparks will be signing copies and meeting fans.
That's at midnight on the crossover between 12th and 13th November, remember. We wouldn't want you turning up 24 hours late. Everyone will be level 80 by then.
Easy mode. That's what MMO veterans of EverQuest and its ilk like to call World of Warcraft, and to some extent - when it comes to death penalties, ease of soloing and generous quest rewards - they're right. Warhammer Online has stripped things back even further, with instant respawns, easy teleportation around the world map, and content carefully sculpted into a non-stop waterslide of experience points. Could the next WOW expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, go any further?
Blizzard has announced the number of people playing World of Warcraft has now exceeded 11 million.
Reports are flooding in of a zombie invasion in World of Warcraft, heralding the imminent arrival of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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".
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.
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."
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.
Blizzard has revealed that World of Warcraft will offer some sort of paid character customisation in the future.
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.
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.
The BBC are reporting that Blizzard has been awarded USD 6 million in damages in a case against bot-software developers MDY Industries.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Blizzard co-founder Frank Pearce has described the staggering success of World of Warcraft as "exhausting".
Blizzard has published talent calculators for World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, enabling budding fans to pre-emptively plan level-80 class builds. To kill level 80 rats.
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.
Silicon Knights chief and Too Human mastermind Denis Dyack has told videogaming247 he thinks EVE Online is better than World of Warcraft.
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:
Death Knights draw closer.
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".
There are no more tickets for BlizzCon 2008, after waves of adoring fans pecked them up like frenzied pigeons.
BlizzCon 2008 ticket sales have been temporarily taken offline while Blizzard alters the website to handle outrageous consumer demand for the event.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Blizzard has signed a deal with pay-per-view channel DIRECTV to televise the third annual BlizzCon gathering, where real humans dress like elves.
Blizzard has announced that tickets for its third US fan convention, BlizzCon 2008, will go on sale on 11th August.
"A hero. That's what you once were. You stood boldly against the shadow, and purchased another dawn for the world - with your life. But the evil you fought is not so easily banished; the victory you claimed not so easily held."
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.
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.
Blizzard has published the official talent calculator for next World of Warcraft expansion Wrath of the Lich King on the game's website.
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.
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".
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 has begun registration for the open beta test of Wrath of the Lich King, the second World of Warcraft expansion.
It's done so without fanfare, though. The sign-up option - called Wrath of the Lich King Beta Opt-In - is tucked away in a dark corner of the game's official website.
WOW subscribers after a chance to join the Lich King beta will need to sign in to their accounts, go to the 'account management' page and scroll to the very bottom to find the link.
The Worldwide Invitational in Paris this past weekend saw the release of a deluge of new information on next World of Warcraft expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. We covered hands-on impressions of the Death Knight and the major character-class changes in yesterday's preview. But a good deal more emerged in the various developer panels, not all of which we managed to attend ourselves as we ran around grabbing interviews and tracking down every last snippet of information on Diablo III.
There are some sensational new abilities coming for most of World of Warcraft's character classes in second expansion Wrath of the Lich King: of course there are. As much as every player of Blizzard's massively multiplayer monster can't wait to tear across Northrend, delve into its dungeons and batter its new battleground - all of which we discussed in detail in last month's preview and interview - there is a part of you that cares about nothing more than new toys to trash with.
If you went outside this weekend you may have missed the exciting unveiling of Diablo III at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational event. It hit headlines with a meaty gameplay trailer, screenshots and a cinematic movie.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The patch notes for World of Warcraft test servers indicate that the level requirement for mounts is to be lowered from 40 to 30.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It probably wouldn't be fair to say that Blizzard is worried. But with two determined attempts on its hegemony of fantasy MMOs coming this year (Age of Conan and Warhammer Online), last week's Wrath of the Lich King showcase at the company's Californian HQ was, at the very least, a firm reminder of why you might want to keep playing World of Warcraft. The timing, two weeks before Conan's launch, could hardly have been a coincidence. And the reminder was effective - the next WOW expansion impressed us deeply.
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".
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.
Flying out to Blizzard's California headquarters this week to see the second World of Warcraft expansion, we felt neither apprehension nor any great excitement. After the reinvention and reinvigoration that was first expansion The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King seemed a more workmanlike sequel: ten more levels, a new continent, a new profession, a new class, a new battleground, all as expected, little of it pulse-raising. Fine; Blizzard had earned the trust that it would get it right, and the right to stop driving itself so hard.
Renegade film director Uwe Boll has told MTV that he approached Blizzard for the film rights to World of Warcraft.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Researchers at the Middlesex University have found there is no correlation between playing World of Warcraft and violent behaviour.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 has announced that tickets for its Worldwide Invititational event in Paris in late June will go on sale this Thursday, 20th March.
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).
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
Blizzard has said that World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King and StarCraft II will be playable at its Worldwide Invitational event this summer.
A mysterious gamer from Germany has hit the World of Warcraft gold limit.
Blizzard has decided to use some of its gold reserves to create a monthly podcast for you.
Blizzard has issued a statement reassuring anxious fans over the future of its games in light of Vivendi's merger with Activision.
Vivendi financial results have shown that World of Warcraft has an active subscriber base of 9.3 million people.
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.
It's been two months now since Blizzard unveiled the next expansion pack for World of Warcraft. Or, more accurately, since the Internet unveiled it - but the official announcement still caused a stir amongst the hardcore fans who made the pilgrimage to BlizzCon.
Blizzard has revealed details of the first Hero class in World of Warcraft, the Death Knight.
An Emmy award has been presented to the Make Love, Not Warcraft episode of South Park.
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.
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.
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.
Nottingham Trent University has dispelled the myth that online gamers are socially a bit backwards, GamesIndustry.biz is reporting.
Comedy Central has revealed that the tenth series of South Park will go on sale featuring a 14-day trial for World of Warcraft.
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.
Time to kick rats and chew bubblegum.
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.
Vivendi has remained quiet on what are supposed to be the first details for rumoured expansion pack World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King.
But, if you want to disregard confirmed fact for a moment and indulge yourselves in what was supposedly posted on the European World of Warcraft community site last night, then read on.
The level cap will be raised from 70 to 80, and you will unlock new talents and abilities like you did in first expansion The Burning Crusade.