Blizzard

StarCraft 2 tournament Red Bull Battlegrounds gets its grand final today

Tom Sykes at

StarCraft 2 tourney Red Bull Battlegrounds has been ongoing for five months now, thankfully spread out across six separate events rather than being some kind of exhausting endurance event. The grand final takes place today in Washington DC, but you don't need to hop on a plane, a boat, or give your homemade teleporter a try in order to watch it—it's also being streamed on the internet, because 2014. The eSportsy shindig kicks off at 11AM EST, both today and tomorrow, which equates to 4PM in UK time. We've embedded a link to the stream below.

Hearthstone Ranked Play graph illustrates the difficulty of becoming a Legend

Andy Chalk at

Do you ever get the feeling that your quest to become a Hearthstone Legend just isn't going as well as it should? You probably shouldn't lose too much sleep over it: As Blizzard's recently-released breakdown of the Hearthstone Ranked Play ladder shows, the vast majority of players sit in the bottom ten ranks, and less than one percent have achieved the coveted rank of Legend.


World of Warcraft expansions expected to arrive more quickly in the future, Blizzard says

Andy Chalk at

Blizzard may not expect World of Warcraft to grow again in the future, but that doesn't mean it's giving up on the game. In fact, Tom Chilton, lead game designer at Blizzard, says the studio has actually expanded the game's development team over the past couple of years.


World of Warcraft to reclaim old character names

Phil Savage at

One of the biggest issues with any long running MMO is choosing a name for your character. It's guaranteed that any clever, lore-appropriate sequence of letters has been long bagsied by an early adopter. And so comes the desperation. "Lord Perrigrin Fluffyface"? Taken. "Armpit Switchblade"? Taken. "Crispin McBurns"? Taken. "XxX_BongMeister420_XxX"? Taken. "Jeff Goldblum"? Taken. Finally out of ideas, you plant your face on the keyboard and roll it back and forth. Nope. Taken.

What to do? If you're a World of Warcraft player despairing at the lack of possibilities, the answer is simply to wait. With the upcoming patch 6.0.2, Blizzard will reclaim the names of any player who hasn't logged into the game since 13 November, 2008.


Hearthstone hits 20 million players in just six months

Andy Chalk at

Just six months after Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft went into full release on the PC, Blizzard has announced that the free-to-play collectible card has racked up 20 million players.


Diablo 3 pets will be slightly buffed to reflect player statistics

Shaun Prescott at

Responding to complaints that Diablo 3 pets are underpowered against Rift Guardians and other powerful foes, a spokesperson for Blizzard has confirmed the studio will buff the companions. Game designer John Yang has taken to the Battle.net forums to confirm the changes, providing some insight into how Blizzard expects pets to scale with the player character.


Interview with a Hearthstone botter: "I'm not scared of getting caught"

Tim Clark at

We meet one of the men behind the bots plaguing Hearthstone. He tells us about using it in Arena, beating famous streamers, unlimited gold, and why he's not worried about Blizzard's "scare tactics".


Time's up for Leeroy Jenkins as Blizzard finally nerf him and Starving Buzzard

Tim Clark at

In a move already being greeted with an almighty collective sigh of relief by most Hearthstone players, Blizzard has finally swung the nerf hammer on Leeroy Jenkins. The card’s cheap cost, relative to its high damage and Charge ability, has seen it deployed as a ‘finisher’ in a multitude of decks.


Hearthstone Help: Learn to play Giants Mage with Hyped

Tim Clark at

This week we're joined by Hyped, one of the best Hearthstone players in the world, to showcase his Mage Giants deck. The games are all incredibly tense. Like crushing your opponents with a stunning comeback? This could be the deck for you…


Diablo 3 patch 2.1 emphasizes speeding through content, and that's a good thing

Leif Johnson at

Diablo 3 normally isn't a particularly rushed game. The end of the world may be at hand, but it’s typically content to let you slice through the minions of Hell at your own pace, comparing loot and weighing stats as you go. That all changes with patch 2.1, which went live at the end of August. Both the new Greater Rifts and Seasons place an emphasis on speed, whether it’s in beating timed rifts for a chance at better loot or by competing against other players to reach the level cap anew (and pile up new weapons and transmog items in the process). Combine all that with powerful new legendary gems, and the result is a patch that injects Diablo 3 with a powerful shot of adrenaline.


BlizzCon 2014 Virtual Ticket provides full online streaming access, for a price

Shaun Prescott at

It so happens that most of the world is not close to Anaheim, California, so getting to Blizzcon can be a hassle. That doesn’t mean you can’t follow the proceedings though, because the internet exists. Not only can you watch everything that happens at Blizzcon live and in HD, but you can also watch people make rude remarks in the accompanying comment section.


Blizzard's Robin Williams tribute spotted in World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor beta

Andy Chalk at

Blizzard began working on a World of Warcraft tribute to Robin Williams almost immediately after his tragic death in August, and little more than a week later, what was assumed to be evidence of its efforts was discovered within the code for the beta release of the Warlords of Draenor expansion. Today, it appears those assumptions were correct, as Robin the Genie has been spotted in the game.


Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas review

PC Gamer at

Between all the bitching about which cards are OP and need nerfing, it’s easy to lose sight of what a remarkably fun, balanced (yes, really) and young game Hearthstone is. By the time it left open beta in March it already had 10 million registered players smashing each other’s faces in with ever more creative card combos. Since then, despite gripes about RNG, as if any card game doesn’t rely heavily on lucky draws, it’s on the verge of exploding as an e-sport, with regular tournaments offering big prizes and a thriving scene of pros and streamers.


Hearthstone hacked by Google's anti-hacking chief, but he won't release it

Andy Chalk at

Elie Bursztein is kind of a behind-the-scenes guy at Google, where he heads up anti-abuse research and figures out new ways to "protect our users against cyber-criminal activities and internet threats." He recently redesigned Google's Captcha system and implemented improved cryptography in the Chrome browser; he also figured out a way to "hack" Hearthstone by using machine learning to predict opponents' decks with what is apparently a game-breaking degree of accuracy.


Blizzard hire Hearthstone pro to help design Hearthstone

Tim Clark at

If you’re like me, your Hearthstone aspirations probably rest on making Legendary someday. (Currently feeling the rank 7 hype.) Beyond that, you might have hopes of becoming a successful streamer or even winning some tournaments and getting picked up by a team. But how about being so good at the game that you manage to snag a job at Blizzard? That’s what’s next for Ryan ‘Realz’ Masterson, who previously led the Mana Grind team before its recent disbandment.


Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls patch 2.1 out now, new video rounds up its features

Phil Savage at

Diablo III's first major post-2.0 patch releases today. As with other patches, 2.1.0 adds new things. But which new things? It's a question we've already answered, but should reading words be a torment on your very being—to the point where this sentence, in all its selfish continuing, causes tears to run unbidden into your screaming cheeks—then Blizzard have made a video. Watch that instead.


Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls patch 2.1 releases tomorrow

Shaun Prescott at

The long-awaited Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls 2.1 patch will launch tomorrow (August 26 in the Northern Hemisphere, August 27 down below). Blizzard thoroughly detailed the forthcoming changes back in June, but to refresh your memory: you'll now be able to enter the realm of the Treasure Goblins. That's worth the (free) price of admission alone.


Next Hearthstone expansion to include around 100 cards, bought via booster packs

Tim Clark at

Still trying to make your mind up about which of the new cards is most OP? (It's Mad Scientist.) The next Hearthstone set will feature more than three times the number of cards released in the recent Curse Of Naxxramas expansion to bitch about. Speaking on Value Town yesterday, Hearthstone's senior game designer Mike Donais confirmed the next expansion will offer a much bigger injection of cards, and these will be available from packs.


Robin Williams NPCs found in World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor beta code

Andy Chalk at

A petition calling for an in-game tribute to Robin Williams in World of Warcraft was met with enthusiasm by Blizzard, which quickly announced on Twitter that it was "taking care of it." And it really wasn't kidding.


Blizzard on World of Warcraft's subscriber count: "we really don't know if it will grow again"

Phil Savage at

While there's no shortage of interest in World of Warcraft's remaining subscriber count, it's important to remember that the game still has a lot of players. Put it this way: if you once had 12 million slices of cake and you now have only 6.8 million, the result is still you in the corner of the room, shivering in a growing pile of vomit. Despite this, Blizzard say they don't necessarily expect their cake player count to grow.