Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns closed beta starts today

Guild Wars 2 players get a chance to head into the Heart of Thorns this evening—that is, if they’ve already got a key to enter into the jungle expansion’s closed beta. The test consists of three two-hour sessions staggered throughout the day. Players who found a rare portal during last month’s Dry Top and Silverwastes events will be able to create a new beta character to test out a small portion of the new expansion.

“Participants will be able to use a revenant—or any of the existing eight professions—to play a small amount of expansion story content, followed by two beta versions of outposts and their corresponding adventures in part of the Verdant Brink map,” explains a news post on the Guild Wars 2 site. “An early, partially completed version of the day/night cycle meta-event experience from Verdant Brink will also be available.”

ArenaNet says they’ll be adding additional participants, picked from email addresses subscribed to the expansion’s newsletter.

For those without access, the test isn’t under any NDA restrictions. That means you can expect the beta to be streamed by players during each test window.

Behold the first image of Orgrim from the World of Warcraft movie

Behold, the first image from the live-action World of Warcraft movie. And what a picture it is. You wouldn’t even know actor Robert Kazinsky is under all that wonderful movie magic. He looks how I typically feel on Monday mornings.

If you’re unfamiliar with World of Warcraft, the character you see above is an orc named Orgrim, who is a warchief in the WoW universe. It’s so convincing you’d have a hard time figuring out that Orgrim isn’t an actual real living monster. Luckily, he doesn’t exist, so he’s not going to rip you limb from limb (unless you do play WoW on a regular basis, in which case I can promise you anything).

The creature was made possible thanks to the geniuses at Industrial Light and Magic, who used photographs, scans and concept art to achieve such a convincing Orgrim. For reference, you can see what the video game version of the character looks like in the gallery above. Even better than you imagined, right?

The World of Warcraft film, which is being directed by Duncan Jones, was originally scheduled to come out March 11, 2016, but has since been delayed to June 10 of that same year. That’ll put it up against Now You See Me 2 and Uncharted, which I’m sure Orgrim will have no trouble dispatching…

Guild Wars 2 to get grimmer with Reaper specialization

I’m a little surprised to learn that grim reapers aren’t already a thing in Guild Wars 2, given how many bodies pile up in Tyria during the average day. That grievous mistake will finally be rectified with GW2’s Heart of Thorns expansion, which adds the faceless corpse-stealers to the MMO as an elite specialization for the Necromancer class. (It also adds some other, less exciting elite spec classes.)

There’s a video showing off the Reaper below, but before that you need to know that one of their traits is called ‘Cold Shoulder’. That’s a brilliant name for something that, boringly, only makes “chill last longer, and chilled foes deal less damage to you”. The Reaper wields a massive scythe, and an equally massive greatsword, so they’re fairly slow at hitting things, all told.

Here’s what the devs have to say about the Reaper, from this reveal post on the Guild Wars 2 site:
“This devastating melee brawler is at home in battle when surrounded by as many enemies as possible, cleaving through hapless foes for life-force sustainment. Once the reaper has enough life force, they can transform into a devastating avatar of destruction that leaves enemies frozen in terror.”

FIFA 15 issues another free Ultimate Team rare 25K pack today

Seems like EA is giving away freebie packs for Ultimate Team in FIFA 15 left and right these days. Last week they dished out three across a Community Weekend and today theyre offering another 25K rare gold pack to everybody.

This is tangentially connected to last nights maintenance, which by the sounds of things was in order to make Ultimate Team store improvements.

Heres the twitter post announcing the latest pack giveaway. As tends to be the case with these, the players are not tradeable.

6pm UK time was about ten minutes ago at the time of writing, and the FIFA 15 Ultimate Team packs have indeed been given out. Since the Web App actually seemed to be working, I was able to check (and open) the pack through that method. I got a Dutch lad named Douglas (and a few guys who were worse.) Not terribly exciting, but thats the luck of the draw.

World of Warcrafts 3M subscriber drop is not a problem, one analyst says

Despite World of Warcrafts recent spike and plunge in paid subscribers, Blizzard Entertainment has a bright future, SuperData Research chief executive Joost van Dreunen said.
We knew Blizzard Entertainments Ion Watcher Hazzikostas would be bullish on Warcraft regardless of the recent subscription roller coaster (and he was, though the lead game designer pointed out some flaws the company plans to correct). But GamesBeat sought out the thoughts of one of the market-research firms that follow the $2.3 billion pay-to-play massively multiplayer online RPG world most closely for a more-neutral opinion.

Its no problem, van Dreunen said.

WoW is the market leader, by a landslide. It holds around a third of the worldwide pay-to-play MMO market, he said. Generating still over a billion [dollars] in revenue annually, its a juggernaut of a franchise, especially if you consider its been around for more than 10 years.

Warcraft picked up millions of subscribers with the launch of this falls Warlords of Draenor expansion pack, putting it back over 10 million players paying around $13-$15 a month. Then it dropped just as dramatically, settling around 7 million. Van Dreunen attributed the drop in part to the momentum behind massive online battle arena titles like League of Legends and Valves Dota 2.

In some ways, the legacy of WoW continues to live on in spin-offs like Hearthstone, with cumulative earnings of around $200 million, and the soon-to-be-launched Heroes of the Storm, he said. Meanwhile, new market entrants like Wildstar have failed to capture significant market share in pay-to-play MMO space, and we expect that these titles will convert to free-to-play instead.

He attributes World of Warcrafts long-term success to the high barrier for other players to get into the paid-subscription market, including ongoing development costs, infrastructure and the cost of acquiring players. It got the advantage initially because it was easier to play.

For consumers, there were, in fact, several popular titles like EverQuest when WoW emerged, but none of these were as accessible for players, he said. As WoW reached critical mass, a large part of the industry had started to shift to free-to-play, making it very difficult for any new entrants to justify a subscription-based monetization scheme.

Van Dreunen doesnt see a lot of options for a new pay-to-play game in the genre.

Subscription-based MMOs require a lot of dedicated game time from their players, which makes the total addressable market relatively narrow, he said. By [WoW] capturing a critical mass, there wasnt enough room in the market for any contender of equal size.

Ten Death Knights Defeat World of Warcraft’s Current End-Boss

Raegwyn and his friends were able to kill Blackhand on Heroic difficulty with only using death knights. Quite an impressive achievement, since it’s still the hardest boss fight in the game on this difficulty.

Even though Blood Death Knights are tanks, their self-healing and their damage is good enough to survive and finish the fight in time. All ten are specced as tanks, but only one of them is tanking at the same time while the rest do damage. When the active tank is about to fall,they switch roles, and someone else takes care of the job and eats up the damage.

What made this boss so ridiculus awesome and difficult was that everyone could get any ability all the time! Normally tanks dont get targeted by impale… for good reasons. But since we didn’t have dps or heals we all got it all the time. It’s impossible to assign ppl to do stuff when everything is completely random. This means you can get an impale and have to run behind the siegetank, while you are tanking the boss or kiting the siegetank, which is quite nuts. Or look what happened to me in the last phase. Mine then impale then taunt boss then another mine AND impale then another impale trololo. This boss really was nuts. It still went much smoother than expected due to my Deathnerds being awesome.

They’re about to try Warlords of Draenor’s other raid Highmaul on Mythic difficulty with twenty death knights. Good luck!

World Of Warcraft Patch 6.2 Details About New Events & Adventure Guide

World Of Warcraft Patch 6.2 is set to release in the near future and include new events, class changes, zones, naval missions, an adventure guide and much more.

Blizzard recently went on to show off the PTR patch notes for World Of Warcraft patch 6.2 which included a bevy of features, but now they have gone into detail to show off the new events players will be able to participate in and how the Adventure Guide will work. The new events will introduce seven different weekend events running from Friday at noon until Monday at noon every week. Two of these events are dubbed ‘Timewalking’ and they have to do with expansion dungeons.

“The schedule will feature two different Timewalking Bonus Events, each themed around an expansion: The Burning Crusade or Wrath of the Lich King. Your character’s level and gear scales down to the dungeon at Heroic difficulty, but the loot you receive is scaled back up, making it a great way to gear up characters as well as receive cool items for transmogrification. Completing three Timewalking dungeons as a part of a quest during the event awards a Seal for an extra bonus roll, which isn’t counted toward the weekly cap of three seals. “

The PTR for 2.0 is currently testing the following layout for the Timewalker Dungeons events:

“Timewalking will be available to characters who are level 71 and higher for Burning Crusade content, and level 81 and up for Wrath of the Lich King dungeons. It will open up only during certain three-day-long weekend holidays. While Timewalking, your power will be adjusted down to the level of the Heroic dungeon, but you’ll retain all of your skills and talents. We will also be testing additional rewards, such as a level 100 quest that rewards one Seal of Tempered Fate per weekend, so keep an eye on the in-game calendar.”

There is also an array of five other types of events that you can activate and work towards during the weekend.

Draenor Dungeons
While this Bonus Event is active, defeating enemies in any Draenor dungeon will award reputation with an appropriate faction. Completing two Mythic-difficulty Warlords dungeons as a part of a quest during the event awards a Heroic Hellfire Citadel Raid cache.

During the Battlegrounds Bonus Event, you’ll earn triple Honor points from random Battlegrounds. Completing the event quest by winning a few random Battlegrounds awards 500 Conquest Points, which do not count toward the weekly Conquest cap.

Arena Skirmishes
You’ll earn triple Honor points from random Arena Skirmish matches during this event. A quest to win several random Arena Skirmish matches will award 500 Conquest Points, which do not count toward the weekly Conquest cap.

If you’re trying to stock up on Apexis Crystals, you’ll be able to gain triple the amount from eligible creatures during this Bonus Event. Completing three area assault objectives during the event awards a sizable amount of Oil to fuel new Naval Missions as a part of your Shipyard. (More information on this new resource will be covered in a future Shipyards and Naval Missions preview.)

Pet Battles
During Pet Battle Bonus Events, you’ll be able to take your pets out for a little exercise and earn triple pet experience from battles. Winning five PvP Pet Battles as a part of a quest during the event awards the player with an Ultimate Battle-Training Stone that instantly levels a pet to 25.

The Adventure Guide will act as a landing page for other journals in the game and a way to activate and sort quests as well as recommending one based on various factors.

“The Adventure Guide suggests content based on a number of factors, such as character level, item level, quest progress, achievements, and more. The Guide is fully interactive, allowing players to accept relevant quests or search for a group via Group Finder with a single click.”

It looks like Blizzard is really going all out with the new 6.2 patch for World Of Warcraft and fans are sure to appreciate the bevy of content coming to the game.