In Development: PvP Mercenary Mode

By on 7-13-2015 in guides

They say, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”—and soon, you’ll be able to do just that.

In an upcoming patch, we’ll be adding a feature that allows you to act as a mercenary for the opposite faction in PvP. Whenever your faction is experiencing a long wait time to get into Ashran or unrated Battlegrounds, agents of the enemy faction will appear in your base in Ashran (Stormshield for the Alliance, Warspear for the Horde). These agents will allow you to enter Ashran or Battlegrounds disguised as an enemy player, and actually fight as the opposite faction.

When you compete as a mercenary, you’ll still earn all the same rewards you would have by winning or losing as your own faction (with the exception of faction-specific achievements). You’ll also have your race automatically changed into one appropriate for the opposite faction while you’re still inside the Battleground or Ashran. Perhaps most importantly, however, you’ll experience much shorter queue times, as our matchmaking system will be able to fill up groups much quicker!

Our goal with Mercenary Mode is to allow players who want to participate in Ashran or unrated Battlegrounds the ability to do so without having to wait through long queues, while still maintaining the spirit of the core Alliance vs Horde fantasy. We’ll be testing this feature soon on the Public Test Realm, and look forward to hearing your feedback!


wowinsider – end of an era?

By on 7-13-2015 in guides

Having played World of Warcraft for a long time now (almost 9 years), I’ve seen the way the community has changed over the years. WoWInsider was a HUGE influence on that.

When I started playing, game blogging was barely a thing. There were a few communities – Elitist Jerks and the official forums and the like – but not much else. You generally went to Thottbot for your information ad read the comment section. Then there was an explosion of gaming blogs. They became the go-to resource for all things gaming. If you wanted to know something, from boss strategies to crafting to pvp, to class-specific information, there was a blog (or 10) for it.

Then along came WoWInsider. And it was good. Really good. And the WoWHead. It was good as well. And from these, there became less need for gaming blogs. Why scour the internet for information when it was almost certainly on WoWInsider or WoWHead?

As a blogger, I did resent them, somewhat. I had become pretty involved in my rogue-related blogging, and the fact that WoWInsider’s rogue columns were just plain better than mine irked me a little. It helped ease the sting when they linked to my blog and brought me thousands of views. Still, it was soon after this that my blogging started to decrease. In my mind I sometimes blamed them for stealing the thunder of WoW-bloggers, but in my heart I knew they were just excellent writers who were putting a lot of time and effort into their work.

Since then, WoWInsider has been my number one WoW resource. I know that some people call them shills for Blizzard, but considering how much I love the game I’m not actively looking for WoW critics.

Seeing how they have been the dominant online presence (outside of the official forums) for WoW for years now, to me this marks another shift in gaming communication. Is this because of the recent predominance of Twitter as a gaming community? It it because there are fewer gamers?

I’m sad to see them go.

And I hope on Tuesday when their site closes they will make an announcement that they are setting up shop in some other part of the internet.

Hearthstone’s Grand Tournament expansion coming next month

By on 7-13-2015 in guides

Blizzard have revealed the Grand Tournament, a new expansion coming to Hearthstone very soon.

The Grand Tournament will offer over 130 new cards, most of which will have a pretty major effect on your decks. Most of the focus in the initial reveal was on how many of these cards can affect or boost your hero power. For instance: a new keyword, Inspire, triggers an effect when you play your hero power. An example of this is the Lowly Squire card, a 1/2 that costs 1, but has an Inspire effect where he gains +1 attack every time you use your hero power.

Others have more synergy. The Maiden of the Lake makes your hero power cost 1 mana, while the Mage-specific Coldarra Drake lets you cast your hero power as many times as you like each turn. So, uh, yeah. You can imagine the effect that might have.

It’s not all hero powers, though. Another card displayed was the Hunter card Lock and Load, which gets you a random Hunter card every time you play a spell for that turn.

Hearthstone‘s Grand Tournament will launch next month. Packs of cards can be pre-purchased for a discount (and a new card back) from next week.


Daybreak’s CEO John Smedley steps down

By on 7-13-2015 in guides

Daybreak’s John Smedley has decided it’s time to step down as the company CEO. Smedley has played an integral part in communicating with the SOE and Daybreak community over the years, helping drive the popularity of games such as Planetside 2 and the upcoming (presently Early Access) H1Z1.

Smedley responded publicly to recent DDOS attacks aimed at the Daybreak servers by the group known as Lizard Squad. The DDOS attacks persisted for several days.

The former Daybreak CEO had previously been the primary target of a bomb threat incident last year, perpetrated by (at the time) Lizard Squad member Julius Kivimaki.

Kivimaki was charged in Finland for his involvement in computer fraud and security breaches, crimes unrelated to the prior Lizard Squad DDOS attacks and bomb threat incidents. Cases (and possible sentencing) relating to the latter incidents are still pending.

The two year suspended sentence given to Kivimaki for the fraud charges wasn’t enough for Smedley’s liking, who posted on Twitter that he was “coming for” him.

Smedley’s position is now being taken over by Daybreak CCO Russell Shanks who confirmed the news to Venturebeat:

“I can confirm that John Smedley will be taking some time off from the company for the near-term and transitioning to a different role to be determined. Upon finalization of his plans, further communication will be provided.”

John Smedley will remain at Daybreak but his new position has yet to be revealed by the company.



By on 7-13-2015 in guides

In one respect, Diablo III is fairly littered with powerful treasures. That’s the core of its gameplay. You are assaulted by a rain of powerful treasures from the heavens that you then equip and use to kill more powerful foes, who drop still more powerful treasures. But the sort of mystical artifact found deep within the Ruins of Sescheron that players will be able to explore in patch 2.3… that’s a different sort of powerful treasure. That’s something that has story importance right there.

Yes, the game’s next patch is offering a new zone to players that which serves as a trip down memory lane into the ruins of the once-proud home of the barbarians. Of course, there are plenty of powerful artifacts with non-narrative importance to be found in the hands (and claws and such) of the beasts residing in the ruins, so that’s a bit of added motivation. Check out the preview trailer just below; you can try out the patch on the game’s test server now.



By on 7-13-2015 in guides

Crowfall has been sporting a pretty distinctive art style from the word go, which is to its credit. The past few big updates on the game have been all about the combat, and that’s all well and good, but it has meant that stuff like art has been shuffled off to one side. But the most recent update from the studio is all about, well, art, which you probably guessed from the headline.

Two new videos from the team are available down below – a flythrough of the greybox model for the game’s castle structures and an interview with one of the members of the art team, Allison Theus. Even if you’re not sure if you’d like the game itself very much, you should go ahead and watch them if you’ve got any interest in the elaborate and lovely concept paintings the game has put forth thus far.

Earlier this week, Crowfall also published a founder’s update discussing its plans for licensing overseas, its upcoming rules of conduct update, and its finances, its new $80,000 stretch goal to make permanent its video contractor,.