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Warcraft Recap: Warlords of Draenor Beta, New Character Models + More!

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The Warlords of Draenor Beta has begun!

What an exciting week in the World of Warcraft! The Warlords of Draenor Closed Beta has started, and all Alpha characters have been wiped. Players who had Alpha access will have Beta access (of course) and Beta invites have been going out in waves. Blizzard has mentioned that they will be targeting "WoW Veterans" in these first waves of invites, so be sure to keep your eyes on your inbox! With the start of the Beta also comes a major change to the faction hubs for this expansion. The Horde and Alliance will no longer call Bladespire Fortress and Karabor home. The faction hubs will now exist similar to how they were implemented in Mists of Pandaria, on opposing outskirts of the PVP zone of Ashran. There have also been some new hotfixes to the Deserter buff on live servers. Finally, we've got tons of new character model previews, including the official reveal of the Human Male model plus in-progress models for Draenei Male, Undead Male, Human Female and Night Elf Female! Check out all of the new models as well as the rest of this week's Warcraft news in the latest recap!




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Warlords of Draenor Beta Test Begins


Warlords of Draenor has moved out of Alpha and is now in Closed Beta! All characters from the Alpha have been wiped, and the character transfer option should now be functioning, allowing participants to copy their live character data over to the test realms. Blizzard CM Bashiok has stated that they will be sending out the first wave of Beta invites to "WoW veterans" rather than simply issuing access randomly. Be sure to check your Battle.net account (and email) to check to see if you're in! Of course, being a "WoW veteran" (whatever that really means) will not guarantee Beta access. Remember to update your Battle.net Beta Profile Settings to opt in for future Beta invite waves! Check out the official announcement on the World of Warcraft blog!



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Latest 5.4.8 Hotfixes - June 24


The latest batch of live server hotfixes include changes to the current Deserter system for Arena/Battlegrounds. The debuff will no longer last 20 minutes on the first application, but will instead apply a 5 minute debuff. The debuff's timer will increase by an additional 5 minutes for any additional debuffs applied within a 20-minute period. Blizzard has offered additional clarification on this change in this forum post.

Blizzard Icon Latest 5.4.8 Hotfixes - June 24


Battlegrounds and Arenas
  • Deserter debuff
    • Deserter debuff now lasts 5 minutes (down from 20 minutes). New applications of the Deserter debuff within a 20-minute rolling window extends its duration by 5 additional minutes each time, up to a maximum of 20 minutes.
    • The Deserter debuff is applied under the following conditions:
      • Arena or Rated Battlegrounds: Leaving the queue, ignoring the prompt to enter when the match is ready, or leaving the match before anyone has entered combat.
      • Battlegrounds: Leaving before the match is over.
      • Additional information on the change to the Deserter debuff can be found in the forum thread titled Upcoming Deserter Hotfixes for Rated PvP.





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Warlords of Draenor Capital Cities Changed


In a surprising change of plans for the upcoming Warlords of Draenor zones, Blizzard has decided to change the faction capital hubs of Draenor. Previously, the Alliance capital was located in Karabor, in the Shadowmoon Valley zone. Horde players called the Bladespire Fortress, in Frostfire Ridge. Blizzard has abandoned the idea of these faction cities and has instead decided to change the faction "capital cities" to outposts located on the outskirts of Ashran, the PVP zone. This has been met with considerable outrage in a growing thread on the Warlords Beta General Forum. Blizzard has explained their reasoning in a forum post, which you can check out below.

Blizzard Icon Warlords of Draenor Capital Cities Changed

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Okay, there’s a LOT of misunderstandings and misinformation floating around, so let me try to clarify what I can.

Warlords of Draenor’s story is about the people of Azeroth (namely, the Alliance and the Horde) venturing into an unknown world and building up a force strong enough to take out an enemy stronger than anything they’ve encountered before, on that enemy’s own turf. While there are certainly some alliances to be made along the way, and those are definitely major parts of the story, the core theme is about you and your faction fighting for survival.

So, as development continued, we came to the realization that it just doesn’t make sense for the Horde and Alliance to spend so much energy and resources building up a stronghold on Draenor, only to base their efforts out of someone else’s city. We’re not helping the Draenei or Frostwolves fight off the Iron Horde – they’re helping us. The Alliance and Horde both have major bases of operation on Draenor. That should be where they’re working from.

That, along with the continued development of Garrisons into the overall quest and story flow of the expansion, led us to the decision to develop the Horde and Alliance bases on Ashran into the major faction hubs instead of Bladespire and Karabor. Promoting the world PvP area on Ashran is a nice perk, but it wasn’t a factor in making that decision.

That said, the Temple of Karabor and Bladespire Fortress are still there. We haven’t removed them or anything like that. You won’t be able to use your bank or check your auctions there, but they’re still fully built home cities for the Karabor Draenei and Frostwolf Orcs, respectively. You’ll still be able to explore them in their full glory.

As to the Alliance and Horde staging areas on Ashran, allow me to lay out a few key facts to hopefully allay some concerns:
  • They’re located on Ashran as a geographical location on the map, but they’re not part of the Ashran world PvP zone. They won’t be subjected to the realm coalescing we’re using to keep Ashran’s PvP area populated, and they won’t flag you for PvP on non-PvP realms.
  • We’ve also made some major improvements to the way PvP flagging works on non-PvP realms that removes “accidental flagging” from mistargeted abilities or ground effects. Unless you manually flag yourself by typing /pvp, you will simply not be able to attack enemy players, or heal friendly players who have flagged themselves.
  • They’re populated with guards, and the only land-based entrance is directly through the Ashran world PvP zone (including a major fortress). It’s certainly possible for someone from another faction to attack it, but it’s not any easier to do so than it is to attack the enemy faction’s shrine in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.
  • There will be a fast travel option between the staging areas and your Garrison. You can pop over there quickly, conduct your business, and leave again if you like.

This isn’t a question of whether or not Bladespire and Karabor are cities. They are. It’s just a question of whether the portals to Orgrimmar or Stormwind are there or somewhere else. You’ll still be able to explore them, they’ll still be fully populated, and they’re still going to be every bit as beautiful as they would have been with a Transmog NPC. We’re looking forward to them ourselves!





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Artcraft -- Human Male


Blizzard has posted a new entry in their Artcraft series, this time spotlighting the phenomenal changes made to the Human male model. World of Warcraft's dated Human model is as iconic as the game itself, but has long-since been the target of criticism over the years. Over the years since WoW's release, more and more MMOs have released with stunning, high-definition character models built with newer technologies. Blizzard has put a significant amount of work into creating an updated human model that will fit in perfectly in the World of Warcraft. You might remember that Blizzard had previewed the Human female model in their very first Artcraft entry. Of course, once the Internet got a hold of the new human model, it became all about the nipples. Check out the full preview of the new Human male model on the official World of Warcraft blog!



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In-Progress Model Updates in Warlords of Draenor


Not to be out-done by the recent Human male reveal, our friends over at MMO-Champion have posted some previews of new race models which have recently hit the Warlords of Draenor realms. Blizzard has made sure to point out that these models are still very much so in-progress, and noted that we can expect to see detailed Artcraft features on the races in the future. Check out the in-progress models for the Draenei Male, Undead Male, Human Female and Night Elf Female in this MMO-Champion post!



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Tanaan Jungle Preview


Blizzard has posted an introduction to the Warlords of Draenor starting area, Tanaan Jungle. This blog is a bit different than their previous Shadowmoon Valley zone preview, as it focuses less on the design of the zone and more on the storyline that players will become a part of with the start of the expansion. Check out this interesting introduction to Draenor on the official World of Warcraft blog!


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