Warlords Home for the Holidays

Warlord Holiday

It’s the holidays. People are rushing about getting shopping done, decorating homes for the season, scrambling to get the best of the best before it disappears – but not in Azeroth. World of Warcraft players are exploring the Warlords of Draenor expansion – finding all sorts of mounts, gifts, toys, pets and followers while expanding their collective immersion experience with Garrisons. That’s right, a quasi-housing situation has been introduced to this popular game that so many didn’t think could be done! With requests going back as far as 2006 and possibly further, players of Blizzard’s flagship game have been champing at the bit for something to call their own! Somehow, the devs have done it. Think somewhere between between the customizable ownership of Ultima Online (UO) and the collaborative ownership in Guild Wars (GW).


The Custom Home

Warlord Holiday Ultima Online Custom HomeIn UO, an individual player is able to collect enough wealth, purchase a house plan, then plant it wherever there is space. Buildings range from the smallest 7-tile-square customs situated in the remotest areas all the way to gargantuan pre-fab castle layouts nestled tightly betwixt neighbors. If there is a clearing, a player will plop their home down. During the height of the housing rush in 2007 (when Trammel was ‘discovered’) – the land grabbing got vicious! Longtime friend actual rez-killed one another to procure prime real estate! Not to mention the uniqueness of the houses are limited only by player imagination: from square, black boxes to fountain-houses of waterfall walls (yes, we know some players just adore the damp). Take a quick jaunt across more populated shards today and you’ll be hard pressed to see two homes decorated alike.


Communal Living

Warlord HolidayIn GW, guilds and factions work together to earn their property – and it belongs to them all with the leaders managing resources and “diplomacy”. Of course, the group could lose their holdings to competitors, its happens time and time again from what I’ve witnessed. Each group takes the holding from another group – some banners and flags change, but essentially its all static. The conquering group gets private, added access to specialty features, but that’s really it when it comes to “housing” in that game.


The Holy Grail of Virtual Housing

Game developers are looking for the perfect balance of allowing players to have a sort of uniqueness, yet not overload servers and staff with the creation, maintenance and updating of everything involved. As special as UO is, the involvement necessary in updating the graphics, positioning, x,y,z axis, the effect of lighting, viewing position and ambient coloration of items looks to be a nightmare! Not to mention collision with a custom home plopped where it probably shouldn’t be (see any trees poking through walls?) and other abnormalities that have become famous (the 7×7 on the roof of a large tower is my favorite). Is it any wonder the venerable game is still using an isometric view? Imagine all that in 3D? Wait, someone is! Portalarium is getting close (of course, their core dev team are the same people that created UO in the first place) with pre-fab houses that can be decorated in Shroud of the Avatar (SotA) – including player-owned, static towns customized by players (if you have the money).


Blizzard’s ‘Dream Home’

I believe Blizzard has found a nice, happy medium to the problem of utilizing a customized living situation in a fully-dimensional virtual space without bogging the servers, or players. Garrisons in WoD are unique. The individual player is “awarded” the responsibility of developing a fort in historic Draenor, before the Dark Portal was created! Yeah, that threw me for a moment, too. I mean, if we (collectively) succeed in defeating the Warlords who created the Dark Portal, what will that do with present-time Azeroth? Will the Alliance and Horde be eternally united? Will I have to share my holy bread with an Orc?!? 0.o

But I digress, this is about the Garrison!

Warlord Holiday FollowersAs you progress through levels, quests, and continuously harder tasks, you can develop and grow your Garrison from a few measly tents to a robust castle complex, including all those ammenities normally reserved for the king! You can pick and choose which buildings go into your Garrison, reap the benefits of developing those buildings, and when you are ready for something else, rip it down and build a new one. You get NPC “helpers” which I’m finding to be really nice touch. You basically tell the NPCs what to do, when to do what, and you can even have them accompany you around Draenor as your bodyguards. And you’ll need them – the upper level mobs are not anything to scoff at.

In the coming weeks, Stratics will be presenting “WoD Garrison Guides” for our readers. These guides will help you learn about the buildings, what benefits you may (or may not) want to reap, and how the Garrison itself is an integral part of the world in WoD. Check back and don’t forget to jump into our forums to share your thoughts! What is good for this Proto-Pali might not work for you Warrior-Orcs, and definitely vice-a-versa.

Warlord Holiday Level 3 Garrison

If you are interested in contributing your World of Warcraft experiences, drop us a line! Stratics is always looking for a few good pens! Visit our Forums and send a PM to Ron Bron or Kirthag.


Warlords of Draenor Coming to Xbox?!

What’s up guys, Syiler here! Today something strange happened, Newegg the online Computer/Gaming store have listed Warlords of Draenor for sale. Now that isn’t anything new, we know WoD will be released at some point TM, the thing that has gotten the community on edge is the fact that it’s Xbox Live Credit. This means in theory it is a redeemable code that you use on the Xbox Live Store for Warlords of Draenor.


Now so far we haven’t heard anything that would lead us to believe this is real, sites make mistakes with pricing, descriptions and listings all the time, but for a moment lets pretend this is real and look at the facts that could make this real. So first of all Blizzard has been looking more towards console users with the recent release of Diablo 3 onto consoles and the special console only “The Last of us” themed dungeon for Playstation, they have been showing a larger interest in the console markets. Ontop of this the Xbox One is fully compatible with certain Keyboards and Mice which would allow you to essentially use your Xbox as a PC. The recent ability squish has removed quite a few key abilities from each class and reduced their rotations making them playable with less keybinds. The final thing is Blizzards job positions on their website for a “Senior Software Engineer for Console”


So overall this could be legit, but I doubt it will be, they wouldn’t have kept something like this so quiet as they wouldn’t have any need to. It might be something that is planned for the future and that wouldn’t surprise me, with the nextgen consoles being a lot more powerful I could easily see them being able to run World of Warcraft and if done correctly could see a spark of new WoW players giving a fresher experience to WoD and future expansions. If it is real and they plan on getting WoD out for consoles around the same time as PC users that would explain the “delay” of WoD as compared to any other expansion wait time WoD has been pretty long but I feel that is just because WoD in my opinion as much more then any expansion to date.

As things stand right now though, I don’t see this happening anytime soon but it is definitely something to keep in mind for the future. What do you think? Do you think this is real, will WoW become available to console users and if so should they have their own servers or share with the PC users?


Thanks to @Elvinelol for bringing this to my attention and sharing the screenshots you see above!


Welcome to Heroes of the Storm

heroes article 1Welcome to the Heroes of the Storm page where we talk about our heroes that are in the storm like universe blizzard has created for us. For many of us these characters are so much more than your average MOBA experience. A lot of us have been playing with or against these characters in games for a decade or possibly longer. There is a certain upholding standard set for blizzard to create the characters we know and love and make them fun to play. Most of your MOBA’s characters are ideas ripped from multiple sources or just a collaboration of great minds to create new characters to play.  This idea is where my main drive to play this game comes from. Just the fact that I can play as Diablo, Uther, or the Forsaken Lich King thrills and excites me far more than playing the huntress Nidalee or the famed Darius. Now i have some experience with all these characters and the games they are in and i can’t wait to experience a new game with my favorites in it.

Now of course, I played other MOBA’s for years, starting with HoN and moving onto LoL which consumed a greater amount of my play time, upwards of 2-3 years dedicated alone to LoL, and I must admit failed attempts to become pro or close to it literally took me down the path of quitting MOBA games. The eternal rage that is in some of these communities amongst not just the general player base, but also within the pro players continues to drive me away from these games. Living in a volatile community for a game that I play constantly was just not something I wished to do anymore as it was starting to affect my day to day as well in the fact that I was a becoming little rager myself at times which is no way to solve a raging problem. When we look at Heroes of the Storm with its new MOBA gameplay style that is almost entirely different from other MOBAs’ it brings a promise with it of a community that has to play together to win together, that is a reason to look forward to the day when I wake up to find a beta key in my email, so i can play it all day and still be playing in the blizzard universe that i know and love.

This game brings with it a new style of play with team based experience gain so no one is ahead or behind, a beloved list of characters to play from, and the fact that there are no items to make yourself more powerful also means no one can farm to get ahead and just carry the team to victory with an Infinity Edge or Deathcap all on their lonesome. Here in the storm we must work as a team to conquer all and crush our foes with a swift curb stomp on the innkeeper’s doorstep as we brawl our way through the enemy base. Now I’ve listed a few reasons why I love this game and you can agree or disagree with them as you will but these are some of the major attractions that bring me towards the game, and many other people into it. The promise of a TEAM based MOBA alone brings many people in who were driven away from the MOBA’s we all know and love because of their volatile communities, add in the love of characters they have played with for years and the experience of a MOBA not based on farming and you’ve got yourself a real winner.

@BlizzHeroes Announces New Hero Week

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 11.06.18 AM

Heroes of the Storm (HotS) Blizzard team announced via their Twitter handle (@BlizzHeroes) that this week will feature the new hero Li Li. Labeled, #LiLiWeek, HotS will release all news based upon this new hero.  I will be breaking down the unveiling of Li Li all week, so check back later this week for more information!


In and out of game chat now enabled in the Battle.net Launcher!


Untitled-1An exciting day overall at Blizzard, with the announcment of Warlords of Draenor Alpha beginning just moments ago we also got news that the Battle.net Launcher has received and update. This update allows you to chat to your Real ID and Battle Tag friends In and Out of Blizzard games. Whether you are in WoW and they are just idle on their desktop or you are both on your desktops you will be able to communicate with them as long as you have the Battle.net client open! It doesn’t matter what game you or they are playing you will still be able to communicate through the Battle.net Launcher and you can chat to multiple friends at once. A well needed feature to the Battle.net Launcher and I am interested to see what else they are able to do with it in the future.


You can also edit some chat related settings by clicking on the Battle.net icon in the top left, going to “Settings” and then “Friends & Chat”.


The update was activated today and if you can’t access it just restart your Battle.net Launcher application and it should be ready for use!

World Of Warcraft Easter Eggs


There are many places in wow that people come across by accident or a guildmate told them that there is a cool reference or a place somewhere in the world. I have gathered five of my favorite places that I came across by accident while roaming the wilds or walking around the cities.


Goblin treasure

We all know that goblins are a greedy money hungry bunch of green things. But just how greedy is not known, well, there is a place in Stranglethorne, that was uncovered when the Cataclysm hit. You have all seen the huge statue outside of Booty Bay, the Goblin one, you can´t really miss it. Next time you area round there with your trusty mount, flying one that is, go to the statue and look inside. There is something shiny in there.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Splinter

In the peaceful city of Dalaran, there is a place where men and women like to go duke it out, where the guards don´t bother them and they can duel in peace. The sewers, home of the PVP players, well, at least it was a while back. But none the less, it’s also a home of many other creatures, mainly rats, cause yaknow, sewers, but there is a one particular rat that is accompanied by 4 tiny turtles. This is of course a reference to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and their master Splinter.


Loch Ness Monster

In the Deep Run Tram that goes from Stormwind to Ironforge. There is a nice little easter egg waiting in the waters, when you pass it. It´s not always there, so the best way to find it is, to leg it down the pipeline and look for it. In the deep waters you can see an NPC called Nessie, a nice reference to the Loch Ness Monster and as we all know, all dwarves are of Scottish heritage so a nice tribute to Scotland as well.


Friday The 13th

You have seen the movies or at least one of them, a guy named Jason with an old school hockey mask and a big huge knife, stalks his victims around Crystal Lake and kills them with many gruesome ways. The series started in 1980 so it´s classic American horror. And in true Blizzard fashion, they have made a reference to the series and its main character Jason. In Crystal Lake, behind the Lions Bride Inn, you can find an NPC called Jason. Sadly, he has no hockey mask, or huge knife, but none the less, it’s a great tribute to this legendary franchise.


Sega Mega-CD

All the praise of this find goes to Meoni, he found this gem of a fish swimming around in the sewers of Dalaran. A shark named Segacedi This reference is from a long while ago. From my childhood, the early 1990´s. Sega Mega -CD and the game Sewer Shark. The Sega Mega – CD was an add-on for the Sega Megadrive/Genesis and the first of its kind ever to use CD technology for gaming. Games were bigger and “better” I say it like that because of Night Trap, look it up, it was something else.

amazing eighties game reference for the mega cd


I will be making more of these types of articles. About the little things in WoW, some of them are well known, some you might discover for the first time. Because in this massive world, there is always something to discover.

Warlords of Draenor Dev Watercooler: Design Philosophy


Blizzard released a blog post on Warlords of Draenor, although nothing to new or huge is talked about, there are still a few interested parts more specifically the changes to CC in WoD.

A few of the key notes are.

  • Item squish will be coming in WoD because Blizzard feels stat scaling is getting out of control. The graph shows how much the numbers inflate with each new level and expansion and how it will look in WoD.
  • Racials are being changed in WoD as some contain Hit and Expertise which will be removed in WoD and others are unbalanced. So a revamp can be expected for some of the Racials!
  • Blizzard feels that players are becoming overwhelmed with abilities as with each new expansion new abilities are added. In Warlords of Draenor the ywill be compacting or removing some abilities, from what we know so far each class will lose around 20% of its current ability kit.
  • Crown control is literally getting out of control! There is too much CC in the game so many of the CC’s have been changed or even removed such as disarms. The PvP trinket has also been changed to grant immunity for a short period of a spell from the same spell cast such as Solar Beam.


It wasn’t quiet what we had hoped for but it is a sign that the WoD information will begin to pour in so keep an eye out for more updates!


Development on World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor is progressing well, and we’ll soon be ready to enter the first phases of public testing. To help prep you for battle, let’s break down some of the upcoming changes we’re making to stats, abilities, and crowd control for the expansion.

Stat Squish

Character progression is one of the hallmarks of any role-playing game, and naturally that means we’re always adding more power for players to acquire. After multiple expansions and content updates, we’ve reached a point where the numbers for health, damage, and other stats are so big they’re no longer easy for players to grasp. What’s more, a lot of power granularity is tied up in tiers of older content, from Molten Core to Dragon Soul—and while it was once necessary for your character’s power to spike up suddenly when you hit level 70, that’s not the case anymore.


In order to bring things down to a more understandable level, we’ll be reducing the scale of stats throughout the game and smoothing out those obsolete spikes, so that power scales linearly through questing content from levels 1 to 85. This applies to creatures, spells, abilities, consumables, gear . . . everything. And while that means your numbers for stats and damage are being reduced by a huge amount, the same goes for creatures’ health and damage output. For example, a Fireball that previously hit a creature for 450,000 out of his 3,000,000 health (15% of its health) may now hit that same creature for 30,000 out of its 200,000 health (still 15% of its health).


It’s important to understand that this isn’t a nerf—in effect, you’ll still be just as powerful, but the numbers that you see will be easier to comprehend. This also won’t reduce your ability to solo old content. In fact, to provide some additional peace of mind, we’re implementing further scaling of your power against lower-level targets so that earlier content will be even more accessible than it is now.

We’re also removing all base damage on player spells and abilities and adjusting attack power or spell power scaling as needed, making it so that all specializations will scale at the same rate.

Racial Traits

We want races to have fun and interesting perks, but if some of those traits are too powerful, players may feel compelled to play a specific race even if it’s not really the one they want to play. For example, Trolls’ Berserking ability was extremely powerful, and their Beast Slaying passive was either completely irrelevant or tremendously powerful, based on the situation, compared to other racial traits. On the other end of the spectrum, many races had few or no performance-affecting perks. On top of that, a number of racials that currently grant Hit or Expertise will soon need replacing, since those stats are being removed in Warlords of Draenor.

To keep racials more in line with one another, we’ve decided to bring down the couple high outliers, then establish a fair baseline and bring everyone else up to that. We’re accomplishing this by improving old passives, replacing obsolete ones, and adding a few new ones where necessary. Ultimately, our goal is to achieve much better parity among races.

Ability Pruning

Over the years, we’ve added significantly more new spells and abilities than we’ve removed, and the game’s complexity has steadily increased. We’re to the point now where players are starting to get overwhelmed, sometimes feeling like they need dozens of keybinds (in a few extreme cases, over a hundred). While the game is loaded with niche abilities that could theoretically be useful in some rare scenario, in reality, many of these are barely used at all—and in some cases, the game would simply be better off without them.

For Warlords of Draenor, we decided that we needed to pare down the number of abilities available to each class and spec in order to remove some of that unnecessary complexity. That means restricting some abilities to certain specs that really need them instead of being class-wide, and outright removing some other abilities. It also includes removing some Spellbook clutter, such as passives that we can merged with other passives or base abilities.

This doesn’t mean that we want to reduce the depth of gameplay or dumb things down. We still want players to face interesting decisions during combat, and we still want skill to matter . . . but we can achieve that without the needless complexity in the game now, and we can remove some of the game’s more convoluted mechanics while maintaining depth and skill variety.

One type of ability that we focused on removing is temporary power buffs (aka “cooldowns”). Removing these also helps achieve one of our other goals, which is to reduce the amount of cooldown stacking in the game. In cases where a class or spec has multiple cooldowns that typically end up getting used together (often in a single macro), we merged them, or removed some of them entirely.

The process of determining which spells and abilities to cut or change is a very complex one—we know that every ability feels vital to someone, and we don’t take this process lightly. Even if we ended up cutting your favorite ability, we hope you’ll understand why we did so in the context of our larger goals for the expansion. Ultimately, the point of these changes is to increase players’ ability to understand the game, not to reduce gameplay depth.

Crowd Control and Diminishing Returns

One other big takeaway from Mists of Pandaria is that there is currently simply too much crowd control (CC) in the game, especially when it comes to PvP. To address that, we knew that we needed an across-the-board disarmament. Here’s a summary of the player-cast CC changes:

  • Removed Silence effects from interrupts. Silence effects still exist, but are never attached to an interrupt.
  • Removed all Disarms.
  • Reduced the number of Diminishing Returns (DR) categories.
  • All Roots now share the same DR category.All Stuns now share the same DR category.
    • Exception: Roots on Charge-type abilities have no DR category, but have a very short duration instead.
  • All Incapacitate (sometimes called “mesmerize”) effects now share the same DR category and have been merged with the Horror DR category.
  • Removed the ability to make cast-time CC spells instant with a cooldown.
  • Removed many CC spells entirely, and increased the cooldowns and restrictions on others.
    • Pet-cast CC is more limited, and in many cases has been removed.
    • Cyclone can now be dispelled by immunities and Mass Dispel.
    • PvP trinkets now grant immunity to reapplication of an effect from the same spell cast when they break abilities with persistent effects, like Solar Beam.
    • Long fears are now shorter in PvP due to the added benefit of a fear changing the players position.

Additionally, we’ve significantly reduced the number of throughput-increasing cooldowns and procs in order to further reduce burst damage.

Whether your favorite class is losing an ability or taking a hit to its CC potential, we hope this discussion helped you better understand why we’re making these changes. It’s important to remember that other classes will be getting some of their CC removed too. We think this entire package will make exploring Azeroth and PvPing a more enjoyable experience for everyone, and we’re looking forward to having you try them out when we open up the expansion for testing.

In the next Dev Watercooler, we’ll explore the changes coming to health and healing in Warlords of Draenor.

World Of Warcraft Ingame Memorials


There are many examples of homages and tributes to real life friends or family of the developers and other staff members of Blizzard. Almost all are a  memory of a loved one who left the world suddenly, but now live forever in the world that they were in some way part of.

Crusader Bridenbrad

Lone warrior in the cold and windy Icecrown. He has been infected with the plague and knows he will die. The player’s task, is to do anything in his/her power to save the brave and noble crusader. But even with all the effort, we are unable to save him. This takes place in the Lich King expansion and is an homage to the brother of Robert Bridenbecker, Vice President of Online Technologies, Bradford C. Bridenbecker. He died from cancer in 2007 and the quest chain was created as a tribute to him.


Ahab Wheathoof

Almost every Tauren has met with this old farmer, he is standing next to the wooden bridge, looking for his dog Kyle who is running around the Bloodhoof Village. The quest and the character are the creations of Blizzard and young Ezra Chatterton, who visited Blizzard with Make-A-Wish Foundation. Ezra also helped to design the Merciless Gladiator´s Crossbow Of The Phoenix and was the first person ever, to receive the Ashes Of Al´ar. After his 20 month long bout against brain cancer, Ezra passed away in 2008, and starting from 2009, during the Lunar Festival, Blizzard renamed one of the NPC´s from Elder Proudhorn to Elder Ezra Wheathoof in memory of Ezra.


Shrine Of The Fallen Warrior

If you are of the Horde, you have seen it, even if you’re a member of the Alliance, you have seen it, has been there for a long time, it was there when I started the game. The dead body of an Orc on the mountain, initials MK engraved in the stone he is laying on, next to him, a spirit healer named Koiter. This is a memorial to a young Blizzard illustrator Michael Koiter, who died suddenly aged 19 in 2004, while World Of Warcraft was still in development.


Elloric The Hunter

In Pandaria, in the Seat Of Knowledge, stands a lone night elf, just reading a map, his name is Elloric and he is a tribute to Michael, a hunter from the guild La Familia De Stonewall who died from an asthma attack on New Years Day 2013 aged 29. His partner, friends and guildmates held an ingame memorial service a few days after his passing and the service was recorded and uploaded to YouTube. The map reading is not a random thing, it´s a part of Michael´s time in World Of Warcarft, as he was often lost and constantly reading the map for guidance.


Owen´s Wishing Well

In the Jade Forest, in the middle of the thickest shrubbery, you can find a well, a wishing well, and if you drop a coin in, you will be granted a Made A Wish buff. The well and all things around it, were created by Blizzard for 16 year old Brian Wicks, a fan of the game, who had started playing at the age 8. He visited Blizzard via Make A Wish foundation. He was suffering from a bone cancer and in 2012 he passed away, but before he passed, his parents were able to show him the Well, in Mist Of Pandaria beta. His name will always be remembered in a game that kept him close to his family, gave him something else to think during his brave fight against cancer, in a game that he played for the half of life.


Creepiest Places in World Of Warcraft!


We all have had that feeling, it’s a huge world, people everywhere, NPC´s, other players, Mobs both good and bad, but the feeling in these places is just shudder. Look over your shoulder creepy. And I’m not talking scary places, just places you don’t want to be in more than you have to or has some event that will creep the hell out of you.

Karazhan and Karazhan crypts


This place is just horrifying. The first time you walk in, there are ghosts everywhere, song and dance, everything looks happy and joyful, well, it ain’t, it´s a creepfest from the start to the end. Everything is dead, yet still go about like normal and the deeper you go in Kara the creepier it gets, until you find the jewel: Karazhan Crypts and the lovely underwater grave of the Upside Down Sinners. Lovely place and a fitting end to the Karazhan exploration.



Not any place in particular here. To me, the whole zone is just creepy and depressing, it has no light, no sun, no nothing, just darkness and long distances where one’s mind can wander and see things in the night. One of the places in WoW, where you just want to go and quest and get out of there as fast as humanly possible. And to top it off, there is one house, where there are voices and a ghostly figure called The Unseen. It´s a good place to quest, but the creepiness and the gloom of it all has made me change zones many times.

Deathknight starting area


You might be thinking: Wot? But let me explain. Everything in this place is about death and dying. This place and Duskwood have the same effect on me. I just want to get away as fast as possible. You kill innocent townsfolk, for the fun of it. There is the one quest that epitomizes the whole ordeal. You have to go and kill your friend, it doesn’t matter what race you choose, there is an old friend to kill for everyone, but this also brings home what the whole area is all about and how Lich King is a douche and how the things you do are so very wrong.

Elwynn Forest

Creepy kids

And not only on RP servers. The only reason this gets mentioned here, is the CC, World Of Warcraft version of Children Of The Corn. The creepy kids, who move in a pentagram formation. And when you follow them into the house you hear the creepy sounds and voices. It would be less creepy with adults or ghouls, but when it´s kids involved, it ups the creep factor to 10. Just follow them around ans see it for yourself.

Barbershop in Stormwind


This one is not that creepy, but it´s more of an Easter Egg if you will.  Have you heard the tale of  Sweeney Todd. Blizzard has, because, when you go to the barbershop in Stormwind, nothing seems out of place, sure the heads on the table are Goblin, but thats understandable. But when you go upstairs and check the right side of the table, you can clearly see that the former owners were retired, and I’m not that sure they had any say about it.