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First blood in the World of Warcraft Arena World Championship will be shed next week

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First blood in the World of Warcraft Arena World Championship will be shed next week

Even though Blizzard admits that World of Warcraft’s Arena PvP is “kind of hard to watch," it’s there if you want it. The World of Warcraft Arena World Championship is part of BlizzCon 2014, with two groups of four teams duking it out in an attempt become the group champion. 

The first round kicks off next week, on October 31st, and while all teams will be heading to play at BlizzCon itself, the winners will secure two of the four spots in the semi-finals.

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Blizzard to deploy Australian servers for World of Warcraft ahead of Warlords of Draenor

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Blizzard to deploy Australian servers for World of Warcraft ahead of Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard have dedicated a set of realms in World of Warcraft to ‘Oceanic’ players for a long while now - but they’ve always run on datacenters in other continents. That’s to change in the weeks before the release of Warlords of Draenor. A new bank of servers in Australia will serve the country and New Zealand with that greatest of gifts: reduced latency.

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World of Warcraft character transfers and changes discounted by 25%

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World of Warcraft character transfers and changes discounted by 25%

With World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor’s release date fast approaching you may find yourself all in a quandary. You want to start playing again along with all your friends but now they’re off on some other server and it’ll take ages to catch up if you start a new character. Wouldn’t it be great to just take your existing top level character and move it to another server?

Well, that wizardry has existed for years now but in preparation for the expansion’s release Blizzard are knocking 25% off the price.

It’s not just character transfers that are seeing a saving either.

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World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor gear guide: getting started

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World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor gear guide: getting started

Ah, that pre-expansion excitement. Warlords of Draenor, the next expansion pack for World of Warcraft, launches in only three weeks as of today. Servers are a hustle and bustle of activity as players prepare for the onslaught of new content and challenges ahead of them. If you’re thinking of coming back to Azeroth to see what the fuss is about, or maybe you’re already playing but you’re a bit clueless as to what to do, then this preparation guide should help you.

I’ll be discussing the best way to get to 90, how to get some raid-ready gear, and most importantly, how to obtain your level 90 heirloom: a powerful item that will accompany you on your travels throughout Draenor, all the way to level 100.

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Master of Draenor I'm pulling your strings: Metallica are playing at BlizzCon 2014

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Master of Draenor I'm pulling your strings: Metallica are playing at BlizzCon 2014

The appearance of widescreen popsters Imagine Dragons at the League of Legends Worlds final last weekend drew nods of approval. It was another marker of mainstream success to note down alongside the LoL Coca-Cola bottles, American Express LCS sponsorship and Staples Center takeover.

But if eSports has a natural soundtrack, it’s metal. And if metal fans can agree on anything, it’s Metallica. The Californian sultans of speed will play out BlizzCon 2014.

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Prepare for BlizzCon 2014 by joining a Hearthstone or StarCraft II fantasy league

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Prepare for BlizzCon 2014 by joining a Hearthstone or StarCraft II fantasy league

BlizzCon 2014 is close, kicking off on November 7th, and to celebrate the big fan event, Blizzard and ESL have teamed up to create the BlizzCon ESL Fantasy League for StarCraft II and Hearthstone. 

While Hearthstone and StarCraft pros will be duking it out at BlizzCon, you can relax at home, on the sofa, and set up your own fantasy team. If you make the right picks, you might end up winning some prizes, too. You won’t be showered in gold, but you will be able to win a plushie. The latter hurts less when it lands on you.

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Heroes of the Storm celebrates Halloween with the time-honoured tradition of getting new skins

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Heroes of the Storm celebrates Halloween with the time-honoured tradition of getting new skins

Since the day when people don hockey masks and harass teenagers, Halloween, is nearly upon us, we can also expect a slew of themed events in games. Even game’s that haven’t even launched. 

Heroes of the Storm’s acknowledging that it is in fact almost Halloween by sprouting three new skins, so you can run around killing things while looking only marginally more ridiculous than you did before. Especially if you have that magical little pony. 

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Play Hearthstone and meet Blizzard's Hamilton Chu in Stratford next week

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Play Hearthstone and meet Blizzard's Hamilton Chu in Stratford next week

Visitors to the UK are spoiled for interesting places to go. They could take a trip to Tim’s stomping grounds in Bath and take a gander at lots of lovely Roman and Medieval buildings. Or they could come up here, in the frigid north, and watch cannons being fired in Edinburgh Castle. And don’t forget GAME, a shop in Stratford. 

That’s where Blizzard’s Hamilton Chu is going to end up while he’s over in Blighty next week. But he’s not visiting the retailer for the sightseeing opportunities. The Hearthstone executive producer will be at GAME to chat about Hearthstone, take questions and sign stuff. And you can pop in and say hello between 5pm and 8pm on October 23rd. 

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Blizzard will feed Heroes of the Storm thousands of new players over the next month

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Blizzard will feed Heroes of the Storm thousands of new players over the next month

The Heroes of the Storm technical alpha is getting set to expand slightly. It hungers for fresh meat, its appetite not quite sated. It’s grisly maw is opening up, preparing to inhale and swallow up more heroes, pitting them against each other in the Nexus. 

Blizzard’s offering up two ways for you to get in line to be swallowed up, one that you can do on your own, and the other by begging and whining at a chum who is already in the alpha. 

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World of Warcraft's handsome new character models in action

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World of Warcraft's handsome new character models in action

The pre-Warlords of Draenor patch hit World of Warcraft today, bringing with it new dungeons, graphics options and big changes to classes and races. But one of the most immediately noticeable changes is to the character models. 

I jumped in after a wee break to take a gander at how lovely everybody looks. Join me. 

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Cloud9 announce their new Heroes of the Storm team; will debut at BlizzCon

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Cloud9 announce their new Heroes of the Storm team; will debut at BlizzCon

Competitive eSports organisation, Cloud9, have formally announced their team for the upcoming Blizzard MOBA, Heroes of the Storm. The team is one of four that has been selected by Blizzard to fight in an Exhibition Tournament at this year’s BlizzCon.

“This is a very big opportunity for many of us so it gives me more drive." said Cameron “Bobbyhankhill" Neslon, Captain of Cloud9 HOTS. “Cloud 9 is an exalted organization and has top players/teams in multiple games, it would be an honor to carry their name in HOTS."

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Warlords of Draenor group finder will allow WoW players to "actually meet new people"

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Warlords of Draenor group finder will allow WoW players to "actually meet new people"

Blizzard have decided that WoW’s dungeon finder is perhaps a little too efficient. The grouping tool pulls strangers together for five-man dungeons, and fires them off on their separate ways immediately afterwards. No time lost - but all too often, no friends gained either.

“The pre-made group finder we’re introducing in Warlords of Draenor is very much trying to take a step back in the direction of World of Warcraft being a place where you can actually meet new people," said lead designer Ion Hazzikostas.

“It’s about creating a world where players can find like-minded others to adventure with, but also a way you can talk to them."

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Warlords of Draenor comic introduces a new zone and orc chieftain: Blackhand

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Warlords of Draenor comic introduces a new zone and orc chieftain: Blackhand

Blackhand is the sort of name you could find attached to a place, weapon or organisation in the reshuffled WoW universe of Warlords of Draenor, but it just so happens to belong to the first chieftain to join the Iron Horde under Grommash Hellscream.

Blackhand and his Blackrock clan occupy the wastes of Gorgrond, which we’ll come to know as a PvE zone in the upcoming expansion. Blizzard have put together a new comic to commemorate the orc’s existence.

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World of Warcraft 6.0.2 patch due Tuesday is an "overture" for Warlords of Draenor

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World of Warcraft 6.0.2 patch due Tuesday is an "overture" for Warlords of Draenor

WoW’s 6.0.2 patch has been dubbed the Iron Tide, and is best envisioned as a wave of iron filings pushed across a table by the sheer magnetic force of next month’s Warlords of Draenor expansion. Tuesday’s update will introduce an orc-caused world event, a new max-level dungeon in the Upper Blackrock Spire, and open up neglected character names to newcomers.

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Becoming a people person with Warlords of Draenor's Garrisons

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Becoming a people person with Warlords of Draenor's Garrisons

By the time you set foot in Draenor next month, when World of Warcraft’s Warlords of Draenor expansion goes live, you’ll basically be one of the most important people in the universe. Your list of feats will include travelling to different worlds, tackling the Burning Legion, the Lich King, Deathwing and saving the world of a daily basis. 

Despite all of this, you’ve been a slave to the whims of others. You’ve never been put in charge, constantly performing tasks for quest givers, even if they are clearly inferior to you. With Garrisons, though, you’ll finally get a taste of what it feels like to order people around. Today, Blizzard’s spilled the beans on how you manage your minions. 

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Wild Cards: what does the future hold for Hearthstone's fresh pros?

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Wild Cards: what does the future hold for Hearthstone's fresh pros?

Hearthstone’s early Twitch explosion has left its creators scrambling to build the scaffolding to support it, while eSports names old and new rush to fill the vacuum around its top players.

Some of those players have the backing of established organisations; others are entirely alone. But none of them know whether they have a full-time job in Hearthstone ahead of them - and they’re all faced with the difficulty of deciding who to trust in a still-growing ecosystem.

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Here's the BlizzCon 2014 panel schedule and floor map

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Here's the BlizzCon 2014 panel schedule and floor map

Blizzard have published the floor map and schedule for BlizzCon 2014, which is useful for attendees hoping to navigate through both space and time. If you're not attending and have the temerity to still want to know what's going on, you can either check out your friendly neighbourhood PC games website or grab a virtual ticket, which grants you access to a live stream for the not-insignificant sum of £24.99.

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The return of Heroes of the Storm's technical alpha will introduce custom games, observer mode and replays

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The return of Heroes of the Storm's technical alpha will introduce custom games, observer mode and replays

Update: The technical alpha is live once more.

Heroes of the Storm’s technical alpha took a break last week, but it’s set to return soon with a whole bunch of new features that Blizzard want players to put through their paces. Today, the studio introduces three big ones: custom games, observer mode and replays. 

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