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Blizzard may have canceled a ‘World of Warcraft’ mobile spinoff (updated)

Arclight Rumble wasn’t going to be the only upcoming Warcraft mobile game, according to a report. Bloomberg sources claim Blizzard and NetEase have canceled a World of Warcraft spinoff mobile title that had been in development for three years. Nicknamed Neptune, it would have been a massively multiplayer game set in a different era of the fantasy universe. It wouldn’t simply have been a WoW phone port, to put it another way.

While the exact reasons for the cancelation weren’t mentioned, one of the insiders said Blizzard and NetEase “disagreed over terms” and ultimately decided to scrap the unannounced game. NetEase supposedly had over 100 developers attached to the project. The two were rumored to have previously canceled another Warcraft mobile release, a Pokémon Go-style augmented reality game, after four years of effort.

Spokespeople from both companies declined to comment. If the rumor is accurate, it suggests Blizzard is struggling to adapt to the rise of mobile gaming. While Diablo Immortal appears to be a success and is joining the well-established Hearthstone, the developers will still have sunk massive resources into other games that never reached players.

There are strong incentives to take these risks, however. Mobile games can be highly lucrative, particularly in countries like China — Genshin Impact has pulled in $3 billion since release, according to Sensor Tower estimates. A hit could easily boost Blizzard’s bottom line, not to mention spur demand for its existing computer- and console-bound games.

Update 8/5 9:49AM ET: Spokesperson Andrew Reynolds told Engadget that Blizzard still has an “extremely successful relationship” with NetEase, and said it was “entirely untrue” that there were any financial disagreements between the two companies. There was no mention of the spinoff or its current status.

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‘World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Classic’ arrives on September 26th

World of Warcraft Classic will return to the Wrath of the Lich King era on September 26th, Blizzard . WotLK is widely considered one of the best expansions in World of Warcraft’s nearly 20-year history. Even if subsequent releases went on to expand the game’s mechanics in more interesting and creative ways, few hit thematically in the way that WotLK did. For those who loved Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, it felt special to set foot on the shores of Northrend for the first time and explore the continent from a new perspective, and then eventually fight Arthas as part of the Icecrown Citadel raid.

Ahead of the expansion’s arrival, Blizzard is introducing a new leveling mechanic called Joyous Journeys. Starting today, Burning Crusade Classic players can visit an innkeeper at one of their faction’s capital cities to toggle a 50 percent experience boost. You can use the boost to finish leveling an existing character or start working on a new one. The boost will be available until the launch of WotLK Classic. For those who want to create a Death Knight once the expansion arrives, you won’t need an existing level 55 character on a server to do so as was the case with the original release.

Blizzard will include Wrath of the Lich King Classic with all World of Warcraft subscriptions, meaning you won’t have to purchase the expansion separately if you want to bring your old guild back together.

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‘World of Warcraft: Dragonflight’ won’t use gendered language in its character generator

World of Warcraft: Dragonflight is joining the ranks of games with more inclusive character generators. Both Wowhead and Polygon note the expansion’s new alpha release has dropped gendered language from its character creator. Instead of the male and female options you frequently see in these tools, they’re now divided into respective “Body 1” and “Body 2” sections. While they effectively offer the same characteristics as before, you can now build a gender non-conforming adventurer without any awkward wording.

Wowhead also found code suggesting that you may get to choose he/him, she/her and they/them pronouns in a future release, which could help other players address your character accordingly. Game director Ion Hazzikostas also suggested in an interview that there might be a way to choose your character’s voice at some point, although the most recent alpha version pulled references to that potential feature.

The changes might not be as substantial as you’d like. You can’t have facial hair and breasts on the same character in the alpha, for instance. Still, this could make World of Warcraft more appealing if you’re non-binary, transgender or otherwise don’t fit neatly into conventional gender representations.

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Shadowlands, World of Warcraft Classic 2021 plans leak before BlizzConline

Just the day before BlizzConline – the all-online replacement for what was supposed to be BlizzCon 2021 – is set to kick off, Blizzard’s announcements regarding retail World of Warcraft and World of Warcraft Classic have leaked out. These leaks detail not only what’s next for retail WoW‘s latest expansion, Shadowlands, but also what will be coming in World of Warcraft Classic in 2021 – something that we’re sure most WoW Classic players have already figured out.

The folks over at WoWHead are hosting the leaked materials, which include a collection of screenshots for Shadowlands and info dumps for both titles. The first major content update for Shadowlands will be called Chains of Dominion, and it’ll have players delving “into new depths of the Jailer’s hopeless domain, seeking to understand the true nature of his malignant plans.”

Players will be able to visit Korthia, the “City of Secrets,” in an attempt to unite the four covenants – kyrian, night fae, necolords, and venthyr – prior to their assault on the Jailer. The update will add a new 10-boss raid called the Sanctum of Domination and an eight-boss mega-dungeon known as Tazavesh, the Veiled Market. Obviously, we can also expect new cosmetics, gear, mounts, and pets as well, because it’s hardly a retail World of Warcraft update without any of those.

As for World of Warcraft Classic, it seems that the long-rumored release of The Burning Crusade will be happening in 2021, allowing players to explore a new realm called Outland and introducing two new races in the Horde’s Blood Elves and the Alliance’s Draenei. Players will have the option of either keeping their characters on Classic Era servers or bringing them forward to Burning Crusade servers. It seems like this is a decision players can make on a character-by-character basis too, so if you have multiple characters you can seemingly choose to keep some of them on vanilla servers while bringing others forward to Burning Crusade.

While World of Warcraft Classic players have been expecting Blizzard to add The Burning Crusade since Classic was announced, it’ll still be nice to have that confirmation that the expansion is coming. BlizzConline kicks off tomorrow, February 19th, and runs through the weekend, so it won’t be long before we have Blizzard’s confirmation and then some. Stay tuned.

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Vicarious Visions move to Blizzard means remastered Diablo, Starcraft, Warcraft

The folks at Vicarious Visions will soon need to switch up their digital business cards. Back in the year 2005, the developer brand and its developers were acquired by the folks at Activision. In the year 2008, Acivision merged with Blizzard, forming Acivision Blizzard. So why should you or I or anyone spend even a moment thinking about how the Activision-owned developer group Vicarious Visions was merged into Blizzard?

Activision Blizzard is a group name that includes both Activision Publishing and Blizzard Entertainment. Vicarious Visions was acquired by Activision Inc in 2005 – that group is currently more accurately called Activision Publishing, working separate from Blizzard Entertainment – both of which live under Activison Blizzard.

The move today effectively moves Vicarious Visions out of Activision, into a division of Blizzard Entertainment, then officially merged into Blizzard Entertainment. As such, Vicarious Visions is part of Blizzard Entertainment.

The team at Vicarious Visions were responsible for a whole bunch of Skylanders games over the past decade, including Skylanders: Swap Force (PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One,), and Skylanders: SuperChargers.

The handled a bunch of Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance games over the past couple of decades, and delivered Skylanders: Trap Team in 2014 for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire. In 2016 they delivered Skylanders: Imaginators (Crash Edition) for PlayStation 3 and 4. In 2017 they were assigned to work as a support team for Bungie for Destiny 2 for Windows.

Also in 2017 Vicarious Visions delivered the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. In the year 2020, the crew brought Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

This team is very adept at bringing already-developed games to new platforms. They’ve done a whole lot of this business over the past couple of decades – and they’ll likely assist Blizzard Entertainment in doing something similar in the near future.

In March of 2020, Michael Chu left Blizzard. Chu was a lead writer on Diablo, Warcraft, and Overwatch. In the year 2017, Blizzard released StarCraft: Remastered, and in 2020, they released Warcraft III: Reforged. Both of these were remastered versions of their original releases.

Clues point toward Blizzard using the folks at Vicarious Visions to bring some classic titles to the future on a variety of platforms. Given the relative lack of a need for any brand new franchises, it’s likely time we see new editions of the following:

• WarCraft
• StarCraft
• Diablo

It’s prime time to bring collections of classic titles to platforms like PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X (or PS5 Digital Edition, Xbox Series S), and streaming game platforms aplenty. Blizzard isn’t about to let their old games die peacefully, especially when they’re all still playable today with the right team on the job.

UPDATE: And it all fits. mobile versions of the classics will very, very likely be released in the future thanks to this Vicarious Visions team. Their years of knowhow in the field should make for an impressive set of remastered editions of the classics.

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