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Warcraft

Warcraft IV photo
Warcraft IV

Blizzard should do Warcraft IV next


C'mon!
Aug 12
// Jordan Devore
This is a silly story to run, but my love of Warcraft is telling me to just go with it. At gamescom, StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void producer Tim Morten told IGN that following work on the expansion, the team "will consider...
Heroes of the Storm photo
Heroes of the Storm

These are the next three Heroes of the Storm


Artanis, Kharazim, and Rexxar
Aug 05
// Jordan Devore
I don't think I'll stray far from Valla (especially now that I have her Master Skin), but I have been stockpiling gold for another Diablo character in Heroes of the Storm -- Kharazim, Monk of Ivgorod. At gamescom, Blizzard opened up about the Monk and shared details on two other heroes (Warcraft's Rexxar and StarCraft's Artanis) as well as a new three-lane map, Infernal Shrines.
Warcraft photo
Warcraft

Watch the leaked Warcraft movie trailer before it's pulled


Pregnant Orcs
Jul 15
// Chris Carter
A new trailer for the Warcraft movie debuted exclusively at San Diego Comic-Con behind closed doors, and like every other trailer that came out of the event, it has leaked by way of phone footage. The first public ...
Blizzard photo
Blizzard

Blizzard is holding a public Hearthstone event in San Francisco


A new announcement is promised, too
Jul 14
// Chris Carter
Blizzard has announced that it will hold a Hearthstone event live at the Folsom Street foundry in San Francisco California next week. It starts at 2:30 PM PST on July 22, and will feature matches, developer access, and a...

Warcraft photo
Warcraft

Soar over Stormwind in this AR Warcraft movie trailer


Skies of Azeroth
Jul 13
// Chris Carter
Even if you weren't wowed by the posters, the Warcraft movie hype train is starting to chug along. Industrial Light & Magic xLAB has produced an AR (augmented reality) experience, both viewable by way of an iOS...
Warcraft movie photo
Warcraft movie

What do you think of these Warcraft movie posters?


Lookattheground.jpg
Jul 13
// Chris Carter
There's lots of news coming out of last weekend's San Diego Comic-Con, and quite a bit of it is video game related -- like this pair of Warcraft movie posters! The film has been on the cutting-room floor and beyond since...

Review: Heroes of the Storm

Jun 02 // Chris Carter
Heroes of the Storm (Mac, PC [reviewed])Developer: Blizzard EntertainmentPublisher: Blizzard EntertainmentMSRP: Free-to-playRelease Date: June 2, 2015 Fundamentally, Heroes is still very much a MOBA experience. It's a five-on-five, top-down, click-heavy affair with various roles such as support, tanks, and DPS, and there's a variety of different characters to choose from. To help break down the barrier to entry, Blizzard has made a number of concessions that set it apart from its competition. Perhaps the biggest difference with Heroes of the Storm is that there are no longer items of any kind, and that's something I'm really, really happy about. While I definitely appreciate the "me-too" nature of adding items to every new MOBA, as it did initially stem from the original DOTA (and by proxy, Warcraft III's shops), learning new item-meta in addition to every map and every nuance for each character can be taxing. I'll often spend hours upon hours theorycrafting builds when returning to specific MOBAs just to figure out the best course of action, which can get tiring if you have to do it for every game. Potions have been replaced by healing wells, found at every fort checkpoint -- making it even easier to get back into the action without any boring moments. Now, there's still plenty of theorycrafting to be had with Heroes of the Storm as characters do get the ability to choose between different abilities after hitting certain level milestones, but you don't need to worry about that one extra crucial layer that can make or break a match. But without items, newer players will be able to pick up any hero and play. Builds are initially limited as you start to level-up within the game's ranking system, offering only a few paths for heroes you've never played as before. It only takes a few games until everything is available though, and at player level 25 (a few days of heavy sessions), every skill will be unlocked automatically. In short, it'll be very easy to come back to Heroes months down the line and learn new playstyles. [embed]292749:58760:0[/embed] The open-ended build system is also great for another reason. Even if you don't build the perfect group composition for any given team, all hope isn't lost at hero selection. For instance, you can spec your support or tank characters into a more damage-centric role over the course of the game. Healers can spec entirely for damage if there's multiple support members on the team, and warriors can go a more tanky route if there's no one to soak up damage. It's far more forgiving than most MOBAs, where you can get yelled at for picking a hero that doesn't fit the current meta, much less your group. Shared experience is the other huge mechanic that Heroes of the Storm is pushing. Basically, it allows everyone on the team to be on the same exact level as one another at all times. For example, you won't have one master player who knows exactly how to lane amassing all of the XP on your team. Instead, the worst player is just as strong as the best one. I dig this system for multiple reasons. For one, it doesn't discourage players from attempting to mount a comeback. While another team can still theoretically outlevel their opponents as a collective, everyone can now feel like they're contributing without having fingers pointed at them. The cast itself is also a huge draw, mostly because it calls upon the rich lore already established in the Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft universes. There's not much backstory in terms of the world itself (unlike Riot Games, which does a fantastic job of keeping its lore interesting and fresh), but each hero has a ton of personality to make up for it. Old familiar characters like Thrall or Raynor have a lot of the same icons and skills from their respective games, as well as updated designs and sound effects. It's a joy to play as Nova and hear the classic StarCraft Ghost phrases, running up against the Lord of Terror himself, Diablo. It sounds hyperbolic, but I really do like playing as everyone (the only hero I straight-up don't like is Tychus), and there's more than enough variation to keep everyone entertained. Abathur, for instance, is a character that doesn't directly fight on the battlefield, but instead hitches a ride on other heroes (as well as towers and creeps) to do battle in the form of a sentient spirit of sorts. The Lost Vikings are a lot like Meepo from DOTA, in the sense that they're actually three different units that can be controlled independently, all in different lanes if you can handle it. There are plenty of more traditional platstyles available, as well as more unique choices like Zagara, who summons minions from StarCraft and can create creep (that barren-esque Zerg terrain) to buff herself. Other characters like Ghost and Zeratul can go stealth to pick off enemies. Sylvanas can disable towers or creeps by attacking them. Uther can heal for a short time after his death. You've seen some of these mechanics before in the genre, but the way each style plays out is unique to Heroes. If you're bored of playing the same exact five-on-five, three-lane map over and over in every game, Heroes can offer some respite. There's tons of maps to learn (seven in all at launch, with another Diablo-themed map in development), all of which have objectives built into them. These mini-quests range from collecting coins to pay a ghost pirate to blow away an enemy base, or defending a circle that shoots lasers at opposing forts. While a lot of folks likely won't enjoy the fact that a team can come back and win because of these events, they're actually just a more streamlined and flashy way of handling the Dragon and Baron Nashor objectives in, say, League of Legends. They're also designed to expedite matches -- an average Heroes game is usually 20 minutes, which is a stark contrast to 45-60 minute matches elsewhere. It's a great philosophy, as one of the common genre complaints is the fact that games take forever. The less Blizzard copies the status quo, the better. Heroes of the Storm also provides a more relaxed environment in general. There's far less pressure in unranked matches (as there should be), and there's even an option to turn off allied chat, thus avoiding taunts from angry players -- instead, you can rely on the fairly extensive pinging system on the mini-map to communicate. "All" chat is also entirely disabled, so you won't hear enemy trash-talking either. There's a few bad apples here and there, but in my experience, this is by and large the most welcoming MOBA community. This should help alleviate a lot of the concerns people have in regards to starting up the genre. For those of you who are more competitive, there is a ranked option called Hero League. There's no bans currently, but you can solo or group queue for it, and hero selection is done by a "draft" style format, where players switch off selecting characters. From what I've played of ranked, the community is just as understanding and helpful, and in every lobby I've been in, players have suggested picks for inexperienced folk and adjusted their picks to help the team. At the highest player rank there's also a team Hero League option for all five players to enter. Currently, the ranked system needs a bit more work in terms of the infrastructure behind it. Blizzard has noted that it is building a system in line with Hearthstone's ladder rankings, but top-tier players will require a lot more to keep playing. In terms of monetizaton, Heroes is roughly on par with League (which is fine by me), but with a slightly lower earn-rate for in-game currency. Yes, it's awesome that Dota 2 has all of its heroes unlocked from the start, and I wish we could have that strategy implemented in every MOBA. But the reality is, Blizzard has created enough avenues to earn gold, and the free-to-play rotation every week will still allow you to play every role and get the full Heroes experience. To earn gold, you can complete daily quests, which will net you around one character per month (depending on the price). By playing frequently, you'll earn gold inherently through completed matches, and by leveling up heroes, you'll earn a nice gold bonus at specific ranks. It's not really hard to do any of these tasks -- they merely require you to play heroes from specific franchises, roles, or play the hero itself a certain amount. There's also a few bundles, including a $20 physical boxed set at launch, that provide a large number of characters. A handful of heroes are also very cheap, to the point where you can buy a few after only a day or so of play. Ever since the beta, I've always had a reserved take on Heroes' economy. In short, it's a bit too conservative in terms of rewards, and Blizzard doesn't put out nearly enough sales (the weekly is usually just a middling one character). That could change over time, but for now, I would like to see a higher earn-rate overall. The good news is that all real-money purchases are just that -- real-money, with dollars and cents. You don't need to wade through and calculate "Riot Points" to figure out how much something costs. Skins are only available for purchase with real cash, which doesn't really bother me as they are a completely optional affair. Plus, when you see how much work goes into making a skin, the prices feel justified, especially when they're on sale. Heroes of the Storm has unfairly been branded as a "just a casual game" due to the removal of many tried and true MOBA mechanics. With over 100 hours of play under my belt, I can say with authority that those claims are untrue. Heroes has a ton of depth, it's very well balanced (though not perfect), and nearly every cast member is a blast to play. It achieves almost everything it sets out to accomplish, so I really hope it catches on with the non-believers and continues to grow. [This review is based on a retail build of the free-to-play game, but Blizzard provided us with 60,000 gold to spend in the shop. A $20 retail starter pack was purchased by the reviewer. I am currently player level 40, the maximum.]
Heroes of the Storm photo
My new go-to MOBA
When people hear the term "MOBA" they usually groan. I tend to respond with, "Tell me more." I grew up with RTS games since I could grasp a mouse and keyboard, and my first MOBA was the original DOTA back in 2005. Over t...

Heroes of the Storm photo
Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm is now in open beta, will launch next month


On June 2
May 20
// Chris Carter
Heroes of the Storm has been in alpha and closed beta sessions for a while, but it's prepping for a full launch next month. For now, you can enter the open beta on Mac or PC with a simple signup on the game's websi...
#dadbod photo
#dadbod

First look at Warcraft film features beefcake orc nipples


#dadbod
May 18
// Steven Hansen
I'm still a bit sad to have lost director Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) to years of a Warcraft film (now pushed back into June of 2016), but maybe those of you who are into it will get a not-sucky game movie out of it. I a...
Warcraft movie photo
Warcraft movie

Warcraft movie delayed three months


Blizzard is scared about releasing near Star Wars
Apr 24
// Laura Kate Dale
So, that Warcraft movie huh? First it was going to release on 18 December 2015, then that date got pushed back because it was announced that Star Wars Episode VII would release that same date. The movie's release got pushed b...
Hearthstone on phones photo
Hearthstone on phones

Hearthstone's availability on smartphones is bad for my health


Custom deck building at red traffic lights
Apr 22
// Chris Carter
When Hearthstone made its way to the iPad, I may or may not have played it for two weeks straight. My wife and I would sit down by the fire (or hearth, if you will) with our iPad and laptop in-hand and play for hours whi...
Warcraft in StarCraft photo
Warcraft in StarCraft

Oh my god, yes! Modders are remaking Warcraft III


Thanks for the warm fuzzies
Mar 11
// Jordan Devore
"Off I go then!" "Yes, m'lord!" "Job's done!" These soundbites send my mind back to all of those magical summers spent obsessively playing Warcraft III as a teenager. The creators of Warcraft: Armies of Azeroth, a remake of ...
Heroes of the Storm photo
Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm entering into closed beta this week


From alpha to beta
Jan 14
// Chris Carter
Heroes of the Storm is feeling pretty great so far, and it's only in alpha form. Well, it was in alpha, as Blizzard has just sent word over that it has entered the beta phase. A patch is ringing in the change, which adds...
Hearthstone photo
Hearthstone

Hearthstone is now available everywhere on Android


Finally
Dec 18
// Chris Carter
After a soft launch in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is now available worldwide. You'll need to sport a 6" (or larger) Android device to run it though, so don't try and squint on you...
Hearthstone photo
Hearthstone

Hearthstone expansion Goblins vs Gnomes coming this December


120+ new cards for PC, Mac, and iPad
Nov 07
// Jordan Devore
This trailer for Goblins vs Gnomes, an expansion for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft hitting next month, sure is fun. I like it when videogame trailers are basically just songs. The expansion will add more than 120 cards, in...
Hearthstone photo
Hearthstone

Justice brought: Hearthstone fraught with bots, caught a lot


All for naught, naughty bots
Oct 28
// Brett Makedonski
Blizzard's doing its best to keep Hearthstone players on a level playing field, and that has resulted in action against a significant number of users. Recently announced in a Battle.net post, "several thousand" accounts ...
Hearthstone photo
Hearthstone

Go play the first part of Hearthstone's Curse of Naxxramas for free


Can it be the weekend yet?
Jul 22
// Jordan Devore
Blizzard has rolled out the first wing of Curse of Naxxramas, a single-player adventure for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. It's free until early September, but the four subsequent wings will cost $6.99 or 700 in-game gold ...
Hearthstone photo
Hearthstone

Hearthstone's Curse of Naxxramas expansion priced


700 gold or $6.99 per wing, but the first one's on the house
Jul 08
// Jordan Devore
Blizzard plans to roll out its Curse of Naxxramas expansion for Hearthstone over a five-week period, with a new wing opening up each week. Here's how the pricing works. The first wing, the Arachnid Quarter, will be free durin...
Warcraft movie photo
Warcraft movie

Ben Foster will play Medivh in the Warcraft movie


He was Angel in X3, among other things
Jun 02
// Chris Carter
We don't know a whole lot about the upcoming Warcraft movie, but thanks to IGN, we do know that Ben Foster will be playing the iconic Medivh -- the looming seer of the franchise. Speaking on the character, Foster states,...
Twitch Plays photo
Twitch Plays

Can Twitch work together to play Hearthstone?


To play and *win*, I should say
Apr 28
// Jordan Devore
I'm over Twitch Plays Pokemon, but it was fun while it lasted for me. And that's not to say I'm bored of the concept of people collaborating to play a game via live stream, generally speaking. Some will be hits, some will be ...
BlizzCon photo
BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2014 dates announced, tickets on sale soon


Panels, game demos, tournaments, and more
Apr 22
// Jordan Devore
BlizzCon will be back this year at roughly the same time, Blizzard has announced. This eighth show is set for the Anaheim Convention Center from Friday, November 7 to November 8, 2014. Tickets aren't on sale yet, but they wil...
Hearthstone photo
Hearthstone

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft for iPad available now worldwide


And there was much rejoicing!
Apr 16
// Brittany Vincent
It seems that after all the whining and complaining I did upon Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft's initial iPad release (which wasn't worldwide, coincidentally) Blizzard decided to go ahead and release it globally today, which...
Hearthstone photo
Hearthstone

Hearthstone plays just as great on the iPad


It's my preferred platform
Apr 10
// Chris Carter
As a general rule, I don't play a game excessively during its beta stage. I don't particularly like getting invested in something that may utterly change after the full release, and Hearthstone is no exception. Although ...

Review: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Mar 14 // Ben Pack
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (Android, iOS, Mac, PC [reviewed])Developer: Blizzard EntertainmentPublisher: Blizzard EntertainmentReleased: March 11, 2014 (Mac, PC) / TBA (Android, iOS)MSRP: Free-to-play (with microtransactions) Hearthstone was announced at PAX in 2013. The concept was simple: it was a trading card game based off of the characters of World of Warcraft. It entered a closed beta, then an open one, and finally on March 11th it was officially released. Hearthstone is free-to-play, and fortunately it means it. The game doesn't feel like it’s pay-to-win at all, and even some of the top players have never put a penny into it. I went into the Hearthstone knowing “it played sort of like Magic but with WoW characters” and nothing else. Having not much experience with either properties, I feared that much of the game would go over my head. You're started off with a tutorial. You play as the mage Jaina Proudmore, one of the game’s nine different hero classes each with their own unique ability and cards. The rules are simple: use your mana crystals to summon minions and cast spells to reduce the enemy hero’s health to zero. Each turn you get a little more mana, so by the end you can theoretically summon your most powerful cards. Hearthstone walks you through the simple premise in a very (almost too) step-by-step way. The basics are easy to understand, but where the real fun comes in is figuring out how all the different cards of your deck could work together. After a few matches that you can’t possibly lose, you are set up to unlock the other eight classes or play against other players in standard matchmaking. On top of that once you unlock a class you can level them up by playing matches, unlocking class-specific cards to build a more powerful deck. You’ll want to unlock the characters, and ideally level them up so you can find which class works best for you. Like other card games you can play a hero like the Hunter, and go for early “death by numbers” wins or you can play a class like the Druid and go for late-game “control” wins. You will spend hours upon hours building and tweaking your decks, and when you get new cards you might even decide to rebuild it from scratch. The best part is it always feels like you are making progress. There is a lot of variety there and it really feels like you can win with any strategy as long as you’re able to pull it off. Of course, it being a card game, luck is involved and it can get frustrating when you can’t pull “that one card that totally would have let you win.” I personally enjoy playing almost every class, each of them having a different style. The priest is all about stealing cards or minions from the opponent, the paladin is all about keeping himself alive so he can unleash tons of late-game damage. You might think you've found “your class” right away, but make sure to play around with all of them and you’ll be pleasantly surprised like I was. Once you have unlocked all the heroes you have the majority of the game open to you. You can play ranked or unranked matchmaking, build your deck, buy packs, or play in the arena. The matchmaking is quick -- it takes about 10 seconds to get matched up and usually matches take 5-15 minutes. Players have 90 seconds per turn, but you hardly ever need to use that much time. There is no player chat, but you can use six built-in emotes ranging from “greetings” to “threaten.” The ranked matchmaking starts you at rank 25, forcing players to work their way up into the higher “competitive” bracket. One neat thing Blizzard does is make Hearthstone feel like a physical card game. Your cards lift off of the table and physically ram into the target you are attacking and everything shakes a little bit when they collide, and the way you open booster packs is reminiscent of actually opening up a physical pack of cards. As you play you complete daily quests, such as “win three games with X class” or “cast 40 spells.” Completing these give you gold, which you can use to either buy booster packs or buy entry into the arena. You can, of course, buy booster packs using real money. Two packs will cost you $3, or you can pick up 40 packs for the low low price of $50. Each pack contains five cards, either neutral (usable by all classes) or class-specific and is guaranteed to contain at least one card that is rare. The arena is my personal favorite part of Hearthstone. After gaining entrance by paying either 150 gold or $1.50, you choose one of three random heroes. Once you have chosen you are presented with three cards. You choose one, it goes into your deck and you are presented with three more cards. You do this until you have a full deck of 30, and then start battling other random opponents. The cards you are presented with aren't always great, but that’s the fun of the arena mode because chances are that the person you are playing against had the same problems you did. There is, of course, the chance that they got super rare cards known as legendaries and will completely crush you but at the same time they never might draw them. Everyone is on a (somewhat) level playing field in the arena. As a newbie you feel like you have a shot at beating even the most experienced players. After you lose three games with your deck you win prizes based on how many wins you managed to rack up. You get at least a deck, and either some gold, random cards, or dust for crafting; so it makes sense that instead of buying decks you should spend your gold on the arena. While building your decks you can also craft any card you want from dust. You get dust by winning it in the arena, or destroying cards of your own. You can have at most two types of any card in a deck, so it makes sense to get rid of all your spares. The game doesn't do a great job of explaining how the system works, so if you don’t do a little research on the subject beforehand you might craft some crummy cards or accidentally destroy some of your good ones. Hearthstone has some other problems when it comes to explaining mechanics. There is only so much space on a card for text, so a lot of time it’s hard to figure out exactly what is going to happen when you do it. One example is that there are certain “statuses” that minions can have, causing them to act differently. One of these is “stealth,” which means it cannot be attacked until it attacks first. Another is “taunt,” which means you have to attack that minion before any others. What happens, then, if you give a stealthed minion taunt? Well it makes it so you can attack it, but you would have no way of knowing that until you tried it. Another shortcoming is the humor, or lack thereof. Hearthstone tries to be funny in the tutorial, and it is if you’re the kind of person who thinks Charlie Sheen references are funny in 2014. In the rest of the game there isn't much humor at all, which makes the places that try and fail even more noticeable. It does do a good job of keeping to the source material, though. There is a legendary card named “Leeroy Jenkins” after the popular WoW meme. Blizzard has come out and said that it plans on supporting the game for a long time. It's working on “adventures,” which are single-player campaigns that will feature new “boss” characters and upwards of 100-200 new cards total. If the studio treats Hearthstone any way like it did WoW, then this should mean there will be plenty of content to come. Also, Blizzard has committed to consistently balancing the game through patches. Overall Hearthstone is a lot of fun to play, and has potential to be a game that stays around for a long time. While it may not be as complicated as an actual collectible card game, or have the appeal of showing off your collection to your friends, it is a great videogame that has minimal issues and is in a neat package, so it would be foolish to try to compare it to something it’s not trying to be.
Hearthstone review photo
Blizzard's trump card
I never got into Magic: The Gathering. Plenty of my friends did, but I couldn't afford countless booster packs or starter decks, and my mom wouldn't drive me to the seedy local comic book store to play aga...

 photo

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft in open beta now


In North America at least
Jan 21
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Attention North America! Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is now in open beta. Blizzard has opened the doors, and best of all they won't be doing anymore wipes, encouraging players to amass their collection. The open beta will...
Warlords of Draenor photo
Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard toying with idea of selling level boosts in WoW


'We’ve been evaluating ways to make that possible'
Jan 17
// Chris Carter
Blizzard is all set to drop its new expansion for World of Warcraft --Warlords of Draenor this year. Late in 2013, they dropped a surprise promotion for the add-on, noting that if you pre-order the game, you can choose o...
Warcast photo
Warcast

Warcast: Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper lead Warcraft cast


Warcast
Dec 05
// Steven Hansen
Duncan Jones' (Moon, Source Code) Warcraft movie, recently pushed back into March 2016 to avoid opening alongside the new Star Wars, finally has casting news. Ben Foster (3:10 to Yuma, The Messenger), Travis Fimmel, Paula Pat...
Warcraft 3 Orianna mod photo
Warcraft 3 Orianna mod

League of Legends' Orianna modded into Warcraft III


Modders are awesome
Dec 03
// Joshua Derocher
Modder Cokemonkey11 has created a mod that lets you play as Orianna, the Lady of Clockwork from League of Legends, in Warcraft III. Cokemonkey11 says that this mod has "over a thousand lines of code," so this wasn't an easy ...
Warcraft photo
Warcraft

Legendary pushes its Warcraft movie to 2016


Won't be up against Star Wars now
Nov 27
// Jordan Devore
The last date we had for Duncan Jones' Warcraft movie was December 18, 2015, which might as well be an eternity away at this point. What's another year? Variety has learned that Legendary Pictures and Universal have pushed th...
Warcraft movie  photo
Warcraft movie

Warcraft movie a 'dark, dirty, and gritty' origin story


Just how I like my coffee
Nov 11
// Steven Hansen
Some new details on the December 2015 Warcraft film have come out of Blizzcon. According to Joystiq, it will be an origin story told from both the human and orc perspectives as both sides spiral into large scale warfare. A mi...

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