Flying, Garrisons & WoD News. 13 March 2014.

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Today marks the release of more information via social media, that Warlords of Draenor will NOT be using flight throughout the world of Draenor at launch, and has not been confirmed to be used at level 100, despite the likelihood obviously that it would be. Alex Afrasiabi, lead world designer for World of Warcraft at Blizzard Entertainment go’s on to say that perhaps players would perhaps learn to enjoy the world without flying, and that they are waiting to see how players react to this limitation.

Personally I would say that I’d have to agree with the idea that the world we play in each expansion would benefit more from players having to explore more, allowing for much of the hard work that go’s unseen in the world more noticeable. If you look at fellow writer; Samkos recent post about Easter eggs in World of Warcraft, it could be argued that many of those aspects of the game would be more seen if flying did not exist in Azeroth. That being said, I would have to then counter that by saying flying is purely a convenience tool, and allows for players who have their daily routines in game to do that content easier and less laborious than it would be without. Either way, it’s interesting to see the approach to flying they are taking with Warlords of Draenor, and I share the curiosity of Mr Afrasiabi on how people will react.

Other information today, also through social media was that the starting event leading up to Warlords of Draenor’s release will be set in and around the Dark Portal in Blasted Lands. It has been said that the initial quests and events will take 40-45 minutes and will feature the player defending the world from invading Iron Horde through the Dark Portal. The event will see players attempt to shut down the portal itself, presumably leading to the events where Garrosh steps through the portal. Alex Afrasiabi is keen to emphasise the realisation of how bad the Iron Horde are, and mentions that we will see how important it is for us to address the problem immediately, or encounter a full invasion comparable to the first war.

Yesterday saw the launch of Hearthstone, and indeed the Hearthsteed mount (which you can read the article further to learn how to get your own). Speculation on what came to the original red version of the same mount was answered by Blizzard Employee; Corey Stockton, who confirmed that the model will infact be used in the future and that they have plans for it’s implementation. This comes as players wondered if the original designs were faction specific colour variants, only now it seems that this could be a future reward for WoW from Hearthstone. The release of Hearthstone itself did not avoid the usual issues with a new launch release, and some players reported difficulty redeeming their mounts in game. Blizzard addressed this by asking players to log out of their accounts and back in, which seems to be a fix for the issue.

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Finally we got more information, or rather confirmation on the possible scale of Garrisons; the player housing / instanced area in Warlords of Draenor from Jeremy Feasel, an employee of Blizzard who works on Garrisons, pet battles, the Timeless Isle and more features of the game. Upon joining he shared this screenshot, which features the Alliance player buildings present in the Garrison feature. The screenshot itself supplies the realisation on both scale and progressive features unlocked through achievements and progress in the game. The fountain in the centre for example, that would be built over time and presumably from a reward, achievement, or time related unlock process. What can be said is that personally I think the whole thing looks fantastic. The implementation of this feature alone to World of Warcraft will bring more addictive and enjoyable elements for players to be involved with outside of raiding or pvp. The original scale of the buildings I saw at an early stage of last years Blizzcon were tiny in comparison to what can only be a more progressed and advanced Garrison. This is fundamentally one of the most anticipated implementation for WoW, and with many other games doing it arguably less well planned than they could of, it will be interesting to see how this affects daily WoW life.

With WoD just around the corner now, and Beta invites expected very shortly, be sure to bookmark WoW.Stratics today, the only place you need to be for everything

Heathsteed Mount Now Available

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As of today, the ‘Hearthsteed’ mount is available for use in World of Warcraft; the long awaited mount is awarded to players who have successfully beaten 3 real opponents in either play or ranked modes within the Hearthstone game. If you didn’t realise sooner, Hearthstone recently went into open beta, and as of yesterday had its official release, hence the reward.

Hearthstone_Screenshot_3.12.2014.17.37.45To get your very own ‘Hearthsteed’ simply log into Hearthstone (Which is Free to play AND to Download from Battle.net), and join either the ‘casual’ play mode or the ‘ranked’ play mode, both of which allow eligibility for the subsequent reward. When you have beaten three real opponents in either of those two modes, the game gives you the ‘Hearthsteed’ reward in Hearthstone in the form of a pop-up window. Simply log into World of Warcraft after this point to get the ‘HearthStoned’ achievement, and with it mail from mount collector Mei Francis, where you will find enclosed the ‘Hearthsteed’ mount. The mount itself functions as both a flying and ground based mount, meaning players of all levels can make use of it wherever they happen to be. Usual mount training restrictions apply, and the speed of the mount will reflect that of the level of speed skill you purchase from the mount trainer in your local factions city.

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Speculation arose during the beta process, as leaked models surfaced of two horse mounts on the internet, one of them Black and Red, one of them Blue and white. It was confirmed that these models were indeed of the ‘Hearthsteed’ mount, however the original Black and red version did not make the cut, with only the Blue version being available to players around the world. Presumably the original intent was for the mounts to be faction specific, Blue for the Alliance players, Red for the Horde. The change to one mount only is a reflection of feedback from WoW players on the WoW forums, many of which arguing against the inclusion of the Red version for various reasons, many of which seem to be based on suiting the feel of the Hearthstone game. I personally like the red version, however I feel that it was indeed perhaps not in keeping with the Hearthstone look, and the blue and white version would be more sought after based on its colour scheme.

Yesterday saw the release of the patch for United States servers, and today the remainder of the regional server groups for Europe and Asia. This release coincides with other recent additions in the Blizzard line up for March; Diablo 3 is set to get the release of its long awaited expansion ‘reaper of Souls’ on the 23rd of this month. With this, the beta being out for their new IP; Heroes of the Storm and the more recent release of digital pre orders of the normal and digital deluxe Warlords of Draenor WoW expansion, Blizzard are set to set the year alight with it’s various IP sales.

With Beta for Warlords of Draenor hopefully on the horizon soon, be sure to check out WoW.Stratics daily for more news as it becomes available, for everything World of Warcraft related, there’s a place for it here on Stratics.