World of Warcraft Patch 4.3 & Diablo III Updates from gamescom

The gamescom 2011 convention is underway in Cologne, Germany, and Blizzard Entertainment revealed new details about Diablo III and the next World of Warcraft content update (patch 4.3) currently in development. Here’s a quick summary of the news:

 

WORLD OF WARCRAFT – COMING IN PATCH 4.3

 

Transmogrification: The ethereals are setting up shop around Azeroth to offer adventurers their latest astonishing interdimensional service. The upcoming Transmogrification feature will let players customize the appearance of their gear like never before. For the full rundown on how it works, check out Blizzards recently posted blog: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/3309048#blog.

Void Storage: Now that players have a good reason to hang onto old gear, they’re going to need somewhere to store it all. With Transmogrification comes Void Storage, a long-term stash where players will be able to keep the items they just can’t seem to let go of. Those ethereals think of everything, don’t they? Read more about it here: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/3342240#blog.

Death to Deathwing: Alongside all this comes a whole lot of new content. The developers revealed that patch 4.3 will feature three new 5-player dungeons, setting the stage for the ultimate fight in Cataclysm: the final showdown against Deathwing himself. Patch 4.3 will include a whole new tier of raid content culminating in an epic boss encounter unlike anything players have yet experienced in World of Warcraft.

Raid Finder and More: We’re also working on a number of other new features, including a Raid Finder — a tool similar to the Dungeon Finder designed to match players looking for PUG-friendly raids — and some cool renovations for Azeroth’s traveling Darkmoon Faire.

 DIABLO III

 Inferno Mode: In addition to Normal, Nightmare, and Hell difficulty levels, Diablo III will feature a new difficulty mode called Inferno designed for players looking for the ultimate Diablo III challenge. Players will need to complete Hell and reach level 60 in order to play on this difficulty setting… and have access to the greater rewards that await.

 This piece of 3D street art depicting Diablo and the legions of the Burning Hells bursting forth from the streets of Cologne, created by artist Manfred Stader.

World of Warcraft: Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects Now Available!

We wanted to let you know that the new World of Warcraft novel Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, written by New York Times bestselling author Christie Golden, is now available at local and online book retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Amazon. This new adventure follows Thrall, the former War Chief of the Horde, as he struggles with the ongoing repercussions of the Cataclysm. You can read more about what awaits him on his journey here.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, Rage of the Firelands (patch 4.2), Erupts!

The second content update for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, Rage of the Firelands (patch 4.2), is erupting across Azeroth. With a new raid, a legendary DPS staff quest line, the most diverse daily questing experience to date, PvP Season 10, user-interface enhancements such as the Dungeon Journal, and much more, Rage of the Firelands brings a little something for everyone.

Also the World of Warcraft trial has undergone a few big changes with the launch of today’s content update. Starting today, blizzard removed the previous 10- and 14-day trial time restrictions, and players who are interested in trying out World of Warcraft can now play the base game for free up to a maximum character level of 20, including draenei and blood elf characters – all they need is a Battle.net account and an Internet connection. To mark the occasion, blizzard also has given the trial a new name: World of Warcraft Starter Edition. Players who had previously signed up for 10- or 14-day trials will be able to hop back into the Starter Edition right where they left off.

In addition, for anyone who hasn’t yet ventured beyond the Dark Portal, beginning today, players will be able to get both the original World of Warcraft and the game’s first expansion set, The Burning Crusade, for only $19.99 as part of the new digital Battle Chest now available in the online Blizzard Store. In addition, anyone who owns the original World of Warcraft, regardless of when they purchased the game, will automatically be able to access all of the content and features from The Burning Crusade expansion at no additional cost.

WORLD OF WARCRAFT(r): CATACLYSM(tm) SHATTERS PC-GAME SALES RECORD

Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced that World of Warcraft®: Cataclysm, the third expansion for the critically acclaimed massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), sold through more than 3.3 million copies as of its first 24 hours of release, making it the fastest-selling PC game of all time.* This milestone eclipses the previous record of more than 2.8 million copies sold in 24 hours, set in November 2008 by Blizzard’s second World of Warcraft expansion, Wrath of the Lich King®.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm was simultaneously released in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Europe, Russia, Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand on December 7, and became available in Korea and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau on December 9. More than 10,000 stores throughout the world opened their doors at midnight to welcome players who wanted to be among the first to obtain a copy of the expansion. In addition, more than 15,000 players attended official launch events hosted by Blizzard and key retail partners in the US, Canada, France, Germany, Russia, Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK, and the region of Taiwan.

“We had to bring Azeroth to the brink of destruction in Cataclysm, but the result was our best expansion yet,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We want to thank all of our new, existing, and returning players throughout the world for their incredible enthusiasm and support, and we look forward to hearing what they think about all the new content.”

“World of Warcraft: Cataclysm delivered even bigger day-one sales than we experienced with StarCraft® II: Wings of Liberty in July,” said Bob McKenzie, senior vice president of merchandising at GameStop, “making this a record year for Blizzard Entertainment at GameStop.”

Prior to the launch of Cataclysm, World of Warcraft’s subscriber population had grown to more than 12 million players globally, further strengthening the game’s position as the world’s most popular subscription-based MMORPG. More information about the new expansion can be found at the official Cataclysm website: http://www.blizzard.com/games/cataclysm/.

To keep pace with the continued growth of World of Warcraft as well as development on other Blizzard Entertainment® games, the company is currently hiring for numerous open positions. More information on career opportunities available at Blizzard Entertainment can be found at www.blizzard.com/jobs.

An ancient evil lies dormant within the depths of your BlizzCon goody bag

An ancient evil lies dormant within the depths of your BlizzCon goody bag…. As a way of saying thanks for joining us for BlizzCon 2010, we’re pleased to present every attendee with a museum-quality maquette of one of Azeroth’s most fearsome figures—the tiny but terrible Dethling. Designed by Blizzard Entertainment artists and produced in partnership with Sideshow Collectibles, Dethling captures all the fury and rage of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm’s world-breaking villain, the corrupted black Dragon Aspect Deathwing, in a much smaller and friendlier form. Hand-cast in polystone and hand painted, each Dethling piece comes complete with a stamped base ready for display on your bookshelf, mantle, or weapon rack. This limited-edition souvenir collectible was created exclusively for BlizzCon 2010 and will never be reproduced for commercial sale.
Other items in the Goody Bag:


Deathy, World of Warcraft in-game pet and an exclusive set of murlocalyptic in-game items for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.

Blizzard Authenticator

DoTA – Warcraft III’s Fountain of Youth

by Anthony (Rice King) Rice

The average lifetime for games is roughly a year. For particularly good games with strong re-playability, multiplayer, and Evolution factor it may be longer; for games such as X-blades and Golden Axe: Beastrider, it may be a matter of days. It is very rare that a game lasts 7 years and is still increasing in gamer base. It is even rarer that the main gamer base of a game is simply playing one map, which is actually a Mod. Warcraft III Mods, specifically the Mod DoTA (Defence of the Ancients), have helped Warcraft III live for 7 years and will help it survive for years to come.

A composited map of the latest DoTA Map

A composite version of the latest DoTA Map

DoTA is a RPG/Strategy game where you have two sides that are vying for control over the land, the Sentinel and the Scourge. Each side can have a maximum of five players. There are three lanes that connect the bases (see above illustration), and periodically NPC’s (known as creeps) get sent down the lanes from each base to fight for their team. The point of the game is to push the creeps and enemy heroes back to their base and destroy their main building. You can only do this after destroying the towers in a lane all the way through to their main building.

Dota Load Screen

Dota Load Screen

One thing that makes DoTA so popular is its always increasing complexity. As of writing this, there are currently 93 Heroes, 54 Items, and 56 Recipes. Recipes basically need a combination of 2 or more items in order to concoct a better item. This makes it advanced and challenging enough to make it always fun. With so many different possible combinations of items there is always room to try new strategies with different heroes. Another great thing about this game is that the learning curve isn’t too steep. This is one of the main reasons why the user base is growing constantly. The controls are that of a normal strategy game, which is comfortable for many gamers. After only a few games, new players can get the gist of the main strategies and get the hang of how recipes work. Many WoW players say that the game is similar to BattleGrounds, the PvP areas in WoW. This is also another reason why DoTA is so popular; WoW players can take a break from leveling and try to duke it out in a more relaxed brawlfest. The complexity of gameplay, the challenge, the moderate learning curve, and the familiarity make DoTA a blast for many gamers.

Screenshot from DoTA

Screenshot from DoTA

Of all the games that came out in 2002, only one can stand above the rubble and claim victory for having the longest and best run. Warcraft III has DoTA to thank for its success in the latter years of its popularity. As long as there are developers creating new items and heroes, there will always be an interest in DoTA, and therefore the gamer base will ever increase.