World of Warcraft turns eight on November 23, and we’d like to thank our amazing community for joining us in celebrating eight epic years of adventure. To celebrate, players who log in to World of Warcraft between November 18 and December 1 will receive a unique Feat of Strength achievement and Celebration Package item. Using your item will kick off the celebrations by shooting off fireworks*, applying a (cosmetic only) tabard to your character, and granting an 8% bonus to experience and reputation gains from any enemies defeated while active.
As an added treat, this year we’ve put together a little video to take you through the years from the original release of World of Warcraft to the newly revealed shores of Mists of Pandaria. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey. We know we have.
We look forward to another year of adventures ahead and many more to come!
*Use fireworks responsibly. Harmful or fatal if swallowed. If fireworks get in eyes, rinse in muddy pond water for 20 minutes, /dance, and contact your nearest Mistweaver, Priest, Shaman, Druid, or Paladin.
The Battle.net World Championship kicks off at 6:00 p.m. PST this Friday, November 16, and you can catch all the action live, FREE, and in HD over at www.battle.net/bwc. Tune in to watch the epic finale of the StarCraft II World Championship Series and the World of Warcraft Arena Global Finals, as some of the world’s best pro gamers battle it out for glory, cash prizes, and the coveted title of world champion.
You’ll also be able to catch the action when guilds Stars and Supreme Quicksand take to the stage to compete head to head in Challenge Mode dungeons and in the Live Raid. See the schedule below for all of the World of Warcraft events.
Rebroadcasts (VODs): We're working hard to ensure video recordings of each of the below events will be available at the conclusion of each day (no later than 5:00 a.m. PST). As soon as VODs are available, each event below will be updated with hyperlinks directing you to them.
Friday, November 16
Stream: WOW Main
Stream: WOW 02
Saturday, November 17
Visit the event site for the complete schedule and don’t forget to join us for the opening ceremony at 6:00p.m. PST Friday night! Read more about the Battle.net World Championship Series in our Press Release.
Shanghai taxis are better than a cup of coffee—or ten. My cab zips through downtown streets over painted lines that apparently mean nothing here, passing just inches from cars and pedestrians, and honking for both excellent and seemingly no-good reasons every few seconds. You just have to put your head down and hope for the best, and that act of blocking the world out and praying the next second won’t be your last is possibly what the World of Warcraft Arena and StarCraft II players will be feeling every moment they’re onstage this weekend. One misclick, one error in countering their opponent, or one second of hesitation could end it and send them packing. Today marks the opening of the 2012 Battle.net World Championship, and as long as I can survive this cab ride I’ll see the two game’s global champions crowned within the next 48 hours.
The doors at the Shanghai Expo Mart are still closed. It’s an unassuming cube of a building, but the inside has been transformed into an entertainment spectacle. The event staff and crews put the finishing touches on what have been months of planning to prepare the sold-out venue for the weekend’s epic eSports battles. I’ve been to all six BlizzCons, as well as the Worldwide Invitational in Paris, and while the Battle.net World Championship will house essentially the same genus of eSports event, it’s easy to tell even before it begins that this year will be a particularly special beast. Combining the fact that it’s being held in Shanghai in front of a large and passionate audience, with the StarCraft II World Championship Series’ global “Home to Hero” grassroots tournament structure and the tried-and-true World of Warcraft Arena invitational—not to mention big payouts for the winners—and I already know everyone here and watching from home is in for a unique experience.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to catch a few of today’s StarCraft II matchups (Group E lolwut!?), but I’m here for World of Warcraft, and there’s just going to be too much nonstop Arena action for me to tear myself away. But that’s what VODs are for, right? Ten WoW teams are competing – two from each region – in a best-of-three round robin where every team plays every other team until we’re down to a final four. Then it’s on to a double -elimination best-of-five where two wins will take a team to the finals, and two losses will see them exiting stage left. The final two teams will face off near the end of the second day, and of course only one will take the title of 2012 World of Warcraft Arena Global Champion and the $105,000 grand prize.
The hall is packed. Mike (Morhaime) takes the stage to kick off the event, giving me some very familiar BlizzCon nerd chills; the Arena teams are introduced; and the flag ceremony commences for the StarCraft II players. I get a bit geeky standing just feet away from the procession and cheering for North American teams and players as the Chinese crowd also plays home-turf favorites. We’re off and running. While the first Arena match is played offstage, the Chinese super-guilds Stars and Supreme Quicksand take to the three Challenge Mode races. I’m hurriedly whisked away to a booth to answer questions (through translations) on just about everything Blizzard-game-related before I can catch either. For some reason they call me Uncle B. in China. I’m struck by how players here seem to ask just about the same questions as they do back home.
I manage to wrap up my first Q&A session and head backstage into a whirlwind of people. The World of Warcraft matches hit a few different snags early in the day, causing an explosion of activity as people work to resolve them, but things smooth out and begin to hit a stride in the afternoon. Not being able to catch any of the English casting, as it’s not broadcast to the hall, makes following the matches a bit tougher, but certainly the big takeaway for the day was the stunningly near-perfect record Team Evil Geniuses was able to pull off. Early on they faced the double-Shaman comp of the double-German EU team, I’m Just Being Honest, and despite a tough set of games against the Grounding Totem-happy trio, EG was able to pull off a 2-0 victory that set them on a steamroller momentum throughout the day. At the end they had only lost a single game, boasting a perfect match score. While they lead the Western pack heading into Day 2, they aren’t alone, as the mostly Canadian North American team Bring It, and Europe teams I’m Just Being Honest and Yaspresents show extremely healthy win counts. The Chinese and Taiwanese teams have taken a beating on this first day, and Korean team Delirium Termans completely forfeited the tournament after just a few lost matches. Korean team LG-IM is currently in a strong second place, but the Western teams could easily close the gap with their remaining games. Regardless of the specific placement outcome, we’re likely to see some despondent Chinese attendees tomorrow picking foreign favorites as their home teams sit in the crowd watching the matches with them.
With that the first day of the Battle.net World Championship comes to a close, but it’s still early for a city where the night life doesn’t start winding down until four in the morning. The triumphant will hopefully be wise and call it early, while disappointment will almost certainly have a long and blurry night ahead—and those of us not competing are probably somewhere in-between. Who will take the title tomorrow? Can anyone stop EG? Will LG-IM hold on to their strong second spot? Or will it come down to a reprise of the regional finals as brother battles brother? Let me know what you think in the comments below, and join me tomorrow night at 5:30 PM PST as the stream clicks live and we can find out together.
First days at any event are always a life-drainer. Despite thinking I’d be heading out for an after party last night, my eyelids were heavy and brain mushy, so it ended up being an early evening with room service and a found-footage horror movie. I’m glad, though, because I was up early, feeling good, and ready to catch the second day’s Arena matches as soon as they began. With only a few remaining before heading into the final four, the two North American teams -- Evil Geniuses and Bring It -- continued to look strong, with Korea’s LG-IM and Europe’s Yaspresents and I’m Just Being Honest fighting for the remaining spots.
As I expected, Bring It went on a sweep, taking out Double G, AHQ eSports Club, and Yaspresents, bringing them into direct competition with Evil Geniuses for total wins, and guaranteeing both North American teams would be heading to the finals. LG-IM went up against Double G, and in an upset lost in a drawn-out 1-2 matchup, leaving LG-IM in a potential three-way tie situation for third and fourth with Yaspresents and I’m Just Being Honest. Speaking of upsets, EG saw a 1-2 loss against Yaspresents -- their first loss of the tournament.
In the final three matches of the round robin, Bring It maintained a flawless match record, taking out Yaspresents in a lengthy 2-1, who then turned around to knock I’m Just Being Honest out of the tournament. EG and Bring It played to determine the final four matchups, and Bring It took it for a perfect 9-out-of-9 win streak, setting up the final four of Bring It vs. LG-IM and EG vs. Yaspresents. As everyone prepared for the final six matches of the 2012 World of Warcraft Arena Global Finals, I managed to find some time to take a rest, eat a fruit cup, and reflect on my week in Shanghai. I leave tomorrow night, and while I definitely miss home, my cat, dailies, and unfettered Internet access, this is a city and event I’ll remember for the rest of my life, and I hope I can return soon. Catching what I can of the StarCraft II games so far, there have been some amazing runs, and I’m happy to see North American players doing as well as they have. It was almost certain to be Korean-heavy near the end, but the scoreboard reflects the spirit of the competition, showing that local heroes have a better shot than ever at taking home a world championship against Korean fan favorites. I wouldn’t be none too surprised if it happened next year.
Enough of that, though…there’s WoW eSports’in to do! Fruit cup emptied, I went off to watch LG-IM vs. Bring It on the main stage as the best-of-five double elimination bracket started. With Bring It having taken their previous games 2-0 in the round robin stage, I was expecting similar results. A wrench went flying into those plans, though, as I had to miss both the main stage match as well as Yaspresents vs. EG backstage to help set up an interview between MMO-Champion and WoW Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas, who was in Shanghai to cast the Challenge Mode and Live Raid events with Blizzard eSports’ Rob “The Voice” Simpson. The live raid ended a while before that, though, and Ion was mostly just hanging out watching the matches, so it seemed like a good time for an interview before we hit the finals. (It’s technically the ArenaJunkies guys on-site, but Ion’s expertise isn’t PvP balance -- so it made more sense for them to stick to PvE/raid questions and pass the interview off to their Curse sister site, MMO-Champion.) So watch for that – there’s some good stuff in there, assuming the recording turned out over the crowd’s roars for Sen in the StarCraft II semifinals.
If Day 1 was EG’s rise to glory, Day 2 was their bitter struggle…and Bring It’s utter domination. Bring It ended up reprising their performance against LG-IM from the round robin by pulling out a 3-0 win with little contest, and showing strong as an almost certain finalist. Meanwhile, Yaspresents was able to knock EG down to the Loser’s Bracket to face LG-IM. And EG wasn’t done stumbling, as they lost the first two games to the Korean team, only just barely managing after one win to pull out another by focusing down Adouken, LG’s Warlock. It went to a nail-biting fifth game to determine who would move on and who would go home, but Evil Geniuses just wasn’t able to regroup and took fourth place.
No real surprise what would happen next. Bring It knocked Yaspresents down to face LG-IM, taking the first finalist spot. Let’s talk about Bring It for a second: Snutz is, for many, the best Warlock in the world, and twice has had the BlizzCon Global Champion title snatched from him. Relegated to second best, he had for a time sworn off World of Warcraft, but came back to the game with his friends Venruki and Kollektiv. Backstage, they were stern, serious, ready to play, and ready to win. And win they have, rocketing to the finals and waiting patiently for the Yaspresents-vs.-LG-IM game to complete. Yaspresents was able to pull out a quick and easy first game. LG-IM woke up in the second and kept the caster trio on their toes, but it wasn’t enough. Going into the third match, Yaspresents was off to a good start, and splitting damage on Adouken and Shotky was just too much for LG-IM, landing them in third place with a very respectable $27,000, and sending Europe’s Yaspresents to the finals against North America’s Bring It.
Cool, calm, collected, the teams were ready, the seats were full, and the finals began. I stood off to the side -- front of house, among the crowd. It’s more fun than watching it on a monitor in the back, even if I can’t understand the casters. The crowd here saw all of the China and Taiwan teams lose match after match the first day, and while they weren’t as excited for the European and North American teams, they did know Bring It, and they certainly knew Snutz. As he was introduced, the crowd erupted, and after only a short delay, game one of the finals began. The winner would take home $105,000, the title of 2012 Global Champion, and -- if it’s Snutz -- fulfill a years-long dream to finally take a global championship.
The first game was over so quickly I don’t even know what happened. I turned to talk to a coworker and everyone was yelling as someone’s health dropped. I think it was Câra who dropped first. I couldn’t even tell you what map they were on. Bring It’s shut-them-down efficiency was a hallmark of this tournament, and there was a buzz as it seemed they may close this thing out in record time. “Wishful thinking,” said my feet, as the second game began on the LoS-heavy “The Underbelly” (Dalaran sewers). Bring It stayed strong, though, as Câra hit a sliver of health five or six times, finally dropping after an exchange of close calls between the two teams. It all seemed clinched as the third started, but Another had switched to Mage from DK. While comp adjustments are fairly common, Bring It hadn’t changed theirs the entire tournament. They were clearly comfortable with their setup, and it showed. While Yaspresents had a few close calls, only a couple really felt threatening, and as the match continued, people begin to murmur: this thing might go to time. There’s a 20-minute time limit, and the winner is decided by total damage done.
Rob (Simpson) was next to me, he ran backstage to find out the status. Bring It kept a lead of about 3 million damage, a gap Yaspresents couldn’t hope to close unless Bring It stood up and walked away from their keyboards. We counted down in our heads, and sure enough, the match ended at the 20-minute mark despite another close call for Câra right at the finish.
A championship ending to a time limit can’t help but feel a bit anticlimactic, but reflecting on the tournament as a whole, this has been an incredible couple days. And honestly, you can’t ask for a better result than a team with a perfect record taking it all at the end -- there’s no disputing they earned it. I’m definitely going to watch VODs for the matches I missed, though. EG started so strong, but a few key defeats in the final four knocked out what seemed to be an unstoppable team on day 1. Meanwhile the Asian teams, save Korean LG-IM, seemed to be falling like flies, while Bring It slowly and methodically won match after match. In the end, Bring It retained their damage lead, Kollektiv and Venruki finally helped Snutz get his gold, and Bring It is crowned the 2012 World of Warcraft Arena Global Champions. Congratulations to them and all of our participants on a well-fought series.
Title: Blizzard Entertainment at DreamHack Winter 2012 Text:
We’re delighted to announce our presence at DreamHack Winter 2012, taking place November 22-25 in Jonkoping, Sweden. We’ll be providing plenty of entertainment and hosting various fun activities that you can take part in, and we’ll also have several prizes and goodies you can win, like for an example World of Warcraft Action Figures, StarCraft II Mega Bloks Battlecruisers, Collector’s Edition boxes, and much more. Check out some of the things we will be doing at the event below.
In addition to watching StarCraft II Tournament at the event, eSports fans will have the opportunity to attend StarCraft Academy and learn how to play StarCraft II from professional gamers.
Jade Serpent Challenge
World of Warcraft players at the event will be able to participate in a challenge mode dungeon contest, requiring the highest skill and teamwork. Those who accept the challenge will be able to use their own computers to compete, and we’ll select the fastest groups to battle it out on stage for glory and cool prizes.
Hang Out with Blizzard
All visitors at DreamHack Winter 2012 are welcome to meet up with us at the StarCraft II Tournament Area any time during the event. If you’d like to chat with members of the European Community Team, or simply have some fun with our friendly Pandaren Monk, come and say hi! We’ll gladly spend some time with anyone who wants to hang out with us.
We’ll host three discussion sessions, one each for World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, and Diablo III, taking place November 23 and 24 in a closed conference room at the event. We’re interested in hearing the thoughts and opinions of players on a number of different topics that will be discussed during the sessions. There are only a limited number of seats available, so the sooner you sign-up for these discussion sessions, the higher your chances are for a seat.
The discussions will take place at the following hours:
World of Warcraft:
If you’d like to sign up in advance for the Roundtable Discussions, please send us an email at Community-EN@blizzard.com with [DHW12] included in the subject line. Let us know your name and indicate which discussion session you’d like to attend. Please note that you must be at least 16 years old to attend the Diablo III discussion.
It will also be possible to sign up for these activities during DreamHack Winter, as long as spots are still available.
The fun takes place November 22-25 at the Elmia in Jonkoping, Sweden, and we hope to see you there!
To find out more about DreamHack Winter 2012, visit the official site.