Happy 10th anniversary, World of Warcraft!

Can you believe that World of Warcraft turned 10 years on November 23rd? It’s impressive that so many people around the world still play this game after so many years. I started to play in 2007 so it has only been 7 years for me, but it’s still a long time and it doesn’t feel like it has been this long. It has been some amazing years, I’ve enjoyed the game and all the expansions so much. I want to thank everyone at Blizzard Entertainment for making such an awesome game and I hope they’ll keep it up a few more years!

Remember to check out the WoW’s 10th Anniversary events in-game.

 

BlizzCon 2014

BlizzCon is over for now. It was two days filled with exciting news, tournaments, amazing cosplay and the greatest closing ceremony I’ve seen so far thanks to Metallica! Of course I wish I were there in person but it wasn’t possible so I had to go with the second best option which was the virtual ticket and the live stream. It has become a tradition to watch the BlizzCon live stream now, so my boyfriend and I watched it together. We managed to stay awake during the whole night both nights so we didn’t go to bed until early morning.

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Thanks to Tycer (http://twitter.com/tycertank) and DizzyMaMa (http://twitter.com/DizzyMaMa)

This year’s BlizzCon was special because of the 10 year anniversary of World of Warcraft. They showed this special documentary called Looking For Group to celebrate the 10 year anniversary. We learned everything from how they came up with the idea of the game and what they thought players would think of it to learning that they never thought it would get this big and that they once were just a bunch of regular people who loved games like so many of us are. The interviews with all the different developers and employees at Blizzard and the players who play World of Warcraft were so fun to watch because we got to hear so many different stories about their experiences in the game and what it has meant for them through all these years.

World of Warcraft has meant a lot to me because it helped me get through a difficult time, I got new friends, learned a lot, had so much fun and most importantly I met my boyfriend there. You should definitely watch the documentary if you haven’t done so yet, you can find it on here.

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I was super excited to see what news Blizzard had for us because I noticed the hole in the schedule and wondered what it might be. Of course I hoped it had something to do with World of Warcraft, like the next expansion or a big patch, but then I thought it would be too early for news like that with Warlords of Draenor not even released yet. Then I thought it might be Warcraft 4, a new StarCraft expansion or that they never really cancelled the project called Titan after all and they were going to finally announce it. So I guess I wasn’t entirely wrong, because they did announce a new StarCraft expansion, Legacy of the Void.

But I was surprised when they announced the new game Overwatch and said that it wasn’t the Titan project, because it was exactly what I thought Titan might be like, a cartoonish shooter set in the future. Though I didn’t really expect them to have come that far with it already. Beta in 2015. The announcement trailer for Overwatch was so good that I would love to see more of them. I like that there are many different characters with different roles, like offence, defence, tank and support, and the characters have so many unique abilities to use. I can’t wait to try the game so I’ve already signed up for the beta and I hope I’ll be one of the lucky ones. Also looking forward to hear the music from the game which Neal Acree, Derek Duke and Sam Cardon among others are working on.  You can learn more about Overwatch on the official website.

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Another thing I was excited to hear more about was the Warcraft movie. When I read “Warcraft Movie Presentation” on the schedule, I was pretty sure it meant a trailer or at least a teaser from the movie, but the only ones who got to see a teaser were the people who actually were there at BlizzCon in person. Super sad and disappointed face. We got to see some of the actors, Orgrim with the Doomhammer and what an orc would look like which was interesting, but I still wish we could have seen something more. It’s a bit annoying because everyone who were there and saw the teaser keep talking about how amazing it was and how excited they are for the movie. So hopefully we’ll get to see one soon.

I don’t doubt that the movie will be good, but Duncan Jones himself said it would be like Avatar and Lord of the Rings, which I’m not sure I’ll believe until I see it because those movies are some of my all time favorite movies and Avatar pretty much blew my mind and I wanted to jump right into the movie the first time I saw it. I do hope the Warcraft movie will be a movie that anyone can watch and enjoy, that they don’t have to be WoW or Warcraft players to understand it. You can get more info about the Warcraft movie by choosing to fight either for the Horde or for the Alliance.

Cosplayers BlizzCon 2014
Cosplayers BlizzCon 2014 (http://twitter.com/DaveKosak/status/530899105338654720/photo/1)

The contests were of course something I looked forward to. It’s always fun to see the amazing costumes, movies, art and music people have made. There were so many great costumes this year so I can’t possibly pick a favorite. But I thought the winners were amazing. I can’t even imagine how much work they must have put into those costumes. I could never make anything like that. I would have liked to dress up as something if I were to attend BlizzCon, for fun, not to win the contest, so I’m not sure I would even enter the contest. I would be happy just walking around and being funny. You can check out the contest winners here.

Chris Hardwick was the perfect host. I knew he would do good as I watch him every week on Talking Dead which he’s hosting. So I hope to see him again next BlizzCon!

I watched the WoW Q&A and kept hoping someone would ask about Moonkin Form and whether or not we will see an update to it in the near future. One year after I asked Tom Chilton the very same question through Twitter at BlizzCon 2013. His answer then was that they have given a lot of love to druids over time with their different forms, so the moonkin will have to wait a little bit longer (read more here). Most people asked very silly questions at this year’s Q&A and none asked about the Moonkin Form. So I asked on Twitter if anyone could ask about it, and Restokin said she would ask someone about it if she found someone to ask and she did. The answer she got was that they might do it after they do the blood elves, but it’s not high on the priority list. So I doubt we’ll see any update in Warlords of Draenor, but I guess it depends on what else they got on their list, maybe we’ll be surprised.

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Heroes of the Storm looks great but I’ve never been a big fan of games like that, mostly because my experiences haven’t been very good. The few times I tried similar games I didn’t really know what to do and everything seemed so complicated. I tried my best to learn it but everyone else on my team and our opponents were so much better and I felt so useless and I don’t think the rest of my team enjoyed playing with me. But I think I’ll like it if I play with friends. I haven’t tried Heroes of the Storm yet but I would like to mostly because it has to be more fun when you know the characters and recognize their abilities and I hope they won’t make it as complicated as other similar games.

I had to watch the panel Heroes of the Storm – Sound of the Nexus because I love to learn about how they make the music for the games. It was interesting to hear how they come up with the different sound effects and hear them play the Heroes of the Storm theme which was amazing! You can listen to Heroes of the Storm music here.

Cosplayers rocking out to Metallica (http://twitter.com/MaynardeSC2/status/531306351838773248/photo/1)
Cosplayers rocking out to Metallica (http://twitter.com/MaynardeSC2/status/531306351838773248/photo/1)

The closing ceremony was the best I’ve seen so far! Metallica blew the roof of Anaheim Convention Center and I was headbanging, playing air guitar, air drums and whispering the lyrics in my living room. Whispering because I recently lost my voice after a week of the flu. I was incredible tired when Metallica finally went on stage, but I couldn’t miss it. They played all my favorite songs so I was happy when the show was over and I could go to bed.

I haven’t had time to go back and watch everything I wanted to see from BlizzCon yet, but I will do it now the next days. It was also very fun to read tweets and see pictures from the people who were at BlizzCon and tweets from people who like me watched the stream at home.

Thank you, Blizzard for yet another amazing BlizzCon and happy 10 year WoW anniversary!

Did you watch the BlizzCon live stream or were you there in person? What were you most excited about?

WoD: How To Be A Good Beta Tester

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The Warlords of Draenor beta is finally here! The first wave of invites went out yesterday (June 27th 2014) and more will be sent out as soon as they need more. Be on guard for potential scams. You can log into your Battle.net account and view your game licenses to check if you’ve been invited. If you’re interested in participating, opt in here.

A lot of people are talking about how excited they are about the Warlords of Draenor beta and what they are planning on doing if they get access. But some people are also questioning what’s expected of them as a beta tester and what they should do to become a good beta tester. First I think you should ask yourself these two questions: Why do you want to be a beta tester? What do you think makes you a good beta tester?

I participated in the Wrath of the Lich King beta, Cataclysm alpha+beta, Mists of Pandaria beta and Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls beta. At first I saw it as a chance to get a sneak peek and play the game before everyone else, but then I learned that there is so much more you should do and I felt important and happy to be one of those who got to test it and give feedback to polish and improve the game before it went live.

I’ve now read through some websites and forums, gathered and written down what I think are the most important things to keep in mind if you are going to participate in the beta test.

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What is a beta test

Game testing is a process for quality control of a software. The primary function of game testing is the discovery and reporting of software defects, also known as bugs. A beta test is usually the second test (after alpha) and the first test by the actual customers. Beta testers are needed because the designers are probably so used to their game that they’re very likely to overlook many things that fresh pair of eyes won’t.

Usually there is an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) you need to agree to in order to participate in testing, but not for Warlords of Draenor. This means you are free to talk about, write about, stream and share screenshots from the alpha/beta.

Who can be a beta tester

A veteran player isn’t necessary a better beta tester than a new player. Introducing previously uninvolved testers with fresh perspective may help identify new bugs. Blizzard wants a wide variety of testers: varied, locations, age, experience and game interest. You don’t need the newest computer, the best graphics card etc. Blizzard wants to make sure that the game works on everyone’s computer. They want a variety of testers with all kinds of different hardware, not just people with the latest stuff.

What to keep in mind

  • You shouldn’t sign up for the beta if you don’t plan on actually testing and giving feedback. Many people sign up for the beta not to test it but to play the game and see if it’s something they would like to buy.
  • The beta is not a demo to complete content before anyone else.
  • Nothing is final before it’s live.
  • Being a beta tester is more like a job than something you do just cause it’s fun.
  • The beta test is designed to find bugs, issues that have made it past internal testing.
  • You are responsible for checking that the game works, is easy to use, has actions that make sense, and contains fun gameplay.
  • If the game was perfect, they wouldn’t need people beta testing.
  • The more bugs that get reported in the beta, the less there will be when it goes live.
  • Visit and read the official beta forums, follow Blizzard’s updates on what they want you to focus testing on.
  • Test as many features as possible in as many ways as possible.
  • Consult with other testers for answers to potential problems you may be experiencing.
  • Support creative new approaches to abilities, spells and other changes to the game.
  • Instead of complaining out loud or in the chat, report your problem by using the feedback survey or the official beta testing forums, and be constructive.
  • You can still give feedback on the quests, zones, dungeons etc even if you don’t find any bugs.
  • Remember that all characters in Blizzard beta tests are wiped from the servers before the final game. Carrying characters over from the beta to the final game would give beta testers an unfair advantage and there are numerous technical issues as the beta client is not the same as the final game version.
  • What is your reward? A sense of accomplishment. You helped to polish a game you enjoy. And a sneak peek at the game is the reward for most. But previous beta invites and good feedback can increase your chances of getting picked again.

What to expect

There will be frequent disconnects, and the realm may be up for a few minutes at a time as new content is added. Do not expect the entire expansion to be available. Expect things to be broken, graphics to be missing or placeholders.

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Bugs

Testing requires creative gameplay to discover often subtle bugs. Some bugs are easy to document, but many require a detailed description so a developer can replicate or find the bug. Do stuff Blizzard never intended for players to do. Because a player will do so by accident and cause an issue. Players also have ways of doing stuff the developers never thought of doing. It is better that it happens in beta than on live.

Bugs can be…

  • art glitches
  • animation errors
  • logic errors
  • level bugs
  • quest items not working
  • random dismounts
  • falling through the world
  • getting stuck
  • damage and class/mob balance bugs
  • lore error
  • + much more

I remember I’ve been able to fly indoors, or dismounted from my flying mount in the air when flying above buildings. I’ve also fallen through worlds, got stuck in walls or behind invisible walls and stuck in cracks in the ground.  Been unable to complete quests, pick up items, missing NPCs and NPCs who yell over and over again so the whole zone gets a headache. I’ve also seen spelling mistakes in the quest info and NPC speech, and tons of graphic bugs.

How to report bugs

As a beta tester, you’re expected to report the bugs you encounter in the game. Blizzard has beta forums for feedback and bug reporting. Once you’ve found and identified a bug, you should write a brief report so Blizzard knows that there is a problem and can fix it before release. Good bug reports can be read quickly, easily understood and be recreated even by someone who is playing the beta for the first time. A good bug report makes it much easier to get the bugs fixed as fast as possible.

Make sure you can repeat the bug
What caused the bug? What where you doing? Write down what you did before you encountered the bug and try to make it happen again. Check the forums to see if the bug you found has already been reported. Sometimes there is a post or a list of known bugs, bugs they already know about and are working on. If you got more information to add about a bug someone else has already reported, just write a reply to their post.

Information to give
Make a note of the time and the place that the bug occurred and what you were doing when it happened. Sometimes it can also be important to write down which class, spec, level and race you are. The beta build you are using can also be of importance. It can be found in the lower left of the login screen. You want to include your computer’s information if you’re experiencing graphic issues, crashes etc. Write down exactly what the bug did. Did you get disconnected, a screen freeze, game crash or an error message? Did you character get stuck? Maybe you fell through the world? Or are you unable to pick up or use a certain item? The more detail the better. Go back and see if you can cause the bug to occur again.

How to recreate the bug
Write down the steps needed to recreate the bug so the developers can recreate it and see what happens. This can be which spell you used, where you walked, which item you used and where, which NPC you spoke to etc.

Writing a bug report post
If you find multiple bugs, make one post for each bug you find. Use a tag in the subject of your post to make it easier to know what kind of bug it is. Like [Quest bug], [Spell bug] etc.

If you can remember and do all or some of the points above, you’re on the right way to become a good beta tester! Good luck and enjoy!

Check out this funny video about beta testing, made for Cataclysm but it’s still useful.

Sources and useful links

This post was originally written for the Mists of Pandaria beta and posted March 21. 2012. It was rewritten for the Warlords of Draenor alpha/beta and reposted June 7. 2014.

While waiting for Warlords of Draenor

We don’t know yet when Warlords of Draenor will release. The alpha has just started and I don’t think it will go into beta yet, maybe in June. For a while now I’ve been thinking it will release in October or November. But BlizzCon 2014 was just announced for November 7 -8, so I think it will release a few weeks after BlizzCon or at least a month before BlizzCon. But again, as it’s still only in alpha I doubt it’ll be ready for release as early as October.

It has already been seven months since we got the Siege of Orgrimmar patch and if the expansions is released in November,  then it will be 14 months without any new content. I think something went wrong in Blizzards planning. Maybe they released the patches too soon or maybe they encountered a problem which caused the delay of Warlords of Draenor. Because I don’t think they would let us wait this long for new content on purpose.

I’m not complaining about the wait because I believe it was not intended to be such a long wait and then something happened. I want Blizzard to take the time they need to make the expansions as good as it can be. I hope they don’t listen to those who rage on the forums because we haven’t seen a release date yet. I don’t want them to rush the alpha and beta, but take their time so everything works as good as possible at release. It will be worth the wait.

It feels like most guilds have already done what they can in Siege of Orgrimmar. People have already got the best gear they can, either it be in PvE, PvP or both. Most people are just waiting and many have already found something to do while waiting like leveling an alt, gearing up an old character, completing achievements and so on. Some people might even be finished with what they had planned to do while waiting for Warlords of Draenor and now they have to find more things to do while waiting. It feels like some people are running out of things to do in the game and therefore cancelling their subscription until Warlords of Draenor.

For me there will always be something to do in the game. My problem is that I don’t feel like playing as much as I did before. I used to play a lot as I’ve raided several days every week since I started playing back in the Burning Crusade. After losing my guild last year, not finding a new guild to call home, combined with the long wait for new content and a lot to do in real life might have left me a little burned out. I do log in sometimes in the evenings to do some battlegrounds or whatever I feel like, mostly just to check what’s going on, but there is never a lot happening. But I don’t want to cancel my subscription because it’s fun to be able to play once in a while when I really want to, but it’s good that I don’t have to log in and play if I don’t feel like it.

I hope to find a new guild with a friendly and social community who shares some of the same goals that I have for Warlords, because I would love to get to know some new people, find someone to raid with once or twice per week, maybe do some rated battlegrounds and normal battlegrounds. I will definitely play when Warlords of Draenor is released because I’m very excited to explore the new (old) world of Draenor, learn more about the warlords and see what’s in store for us there.

I know some of you out there are trying to come up with things to do while waiting for Warlords of Draenor, so I would like to share this list with you. Maybe you’ll get some ideas for what you could do, whether you’re to trying to prepare yourself for the expansions or just looking for something fun to do to pass time.

 

What to do while waiting for Warlords of Draenor 

  • Find a group who does raids every week either it be flex, normal or heroic
  • Level an alt, level through questing in a zone you don’t usually play in, or maybe on a new realm or try a new faction
  • Gather transmog gear through old raids, dungeons or purchase for Justice/Valor/Honor points
  • Skill up all professions
  • Clean your bank/bags/void storage
  • Special achievement you’ve always wanted? Do it now
  • Achievements you never finished? Do them now
  • Get the Challenge Mode transmog set/mounts before it’s too late
  • You’re a PvEer? Try PvP!
  • You’re a PvPer? Try PvE!
  • Complete the Celestial pet challenge on Timeless Isle
  • Create new transmogs for all of your characters
  • Take a small break from WoW and play Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls
  • Finish that quest for the legendary cloak on your alt
  • Thinking about rerolling in Warlords of Draenor? Play your different characters now to figure out which you would like to play then.
  • Got a friend who might want to start playing WoW? Recruit him/her and play together, maybe level a character together.
  • Try getting that mount you’ve always wanted
  • Visit some of these interesting places
  • Play and test the beta when it’s out and if you get into it
  • Start a WoW blog if you don’t already got one and write about your characters and adventures in the game
  • Already got a blog? Finish some of those drafts, maybe? Or write about what you’re doing while waiting for Warlords of Draenor and what you’re looking forward to

I’m sure there are plenty of other things you could do, but this is what I could come up with right now. Let me know in the comments if there is anything you would like me to add.

I’m also wondering, what are you doing while waiting for Warlords of Draenor?

World of Warcraft Secrets: Lake Dumont

Lake Dumont is a large lake with an island in northern Feralas. I first discovered it on alpha/beta but then it looked different. The tower was ruined but it wasn’t burning. And there was something floating above it. Fiery, dark orb like. Twilight’s Hammer work I’m sure.
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Now the tower is still ruined and burning. Blocks from the tower are spread around the island  and the bottom of the lake so it seems to me there was some kind of explosion in there. But like half of the tower is laying on the bottom of the lake, still pretty intact. Something green like smoke or light is rising from the tower.
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There are NPCs there which are Alliance races but friendly to Horde. Their names are Brian Horn, Lucas Merino, Jonny Throop, Judah Mehler, Matias Volkert, Jake Patton, Larissa Bussell, Mary Ann Skweres, Casey Fulton, Ryan Sly, Som Vanderpool, Brandan Vanderpool. There are also some cats named Rocky, Rose and Sandy. They’re all names of people associated with Blizzard’s games, and at BlizzCon 2010 it was mentioned that they’re all members of a single team within Blizzard. Judah Mehler was a tester for StarCraft and StarCraft: Brood War  and Larissa Bussell was a production assistant for Wrath of the Lich King.
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It looks like they’re stranded cause some of them are looking at the lake with some telescopes, another is sleeping, another just sitting there, and one walking around in circles. So seems they’re waiting for something, or someone to rescue them. Don’t think they can get away by themselves as the boat they got there is ruined and another boat is out on the lake.
ANY CHARACTER HERE
There is also a grave with the name Ivan on with a sword and some flowers beside it. And the boat on the lake has some skulls in it, a strange-looking skeleton, a sword and a sack of grain or something like that. There is  a stack of human looking skulls beside the tower and another skeleton looking as strange as the one in the boat. The Vanderpool NPCs are standing at an alchemy table.

If you want to read more about secrets and hidden places in WoW, be sure to check out my other adventures and secrets I’ve explored. And if you know about any other secrets in WoW I’d love to hear about them!

Sources: http://wowpedia.org/Lake_Dumont