Accessing mailbox to cost gold in Legion

Players will have to pay gold to use their mailbox in Legion, Blizzard announced today.

Currently on the Legion Alpha servers, players must fork over 100 gold to open their mailbox, whether it's to send mails, receive items from the Auction House, or simply to send items to another character.

"The 100g is purely a placeholder at the moment. We are still working out what the cost will be!" said the Warcraft Devs twitter account, when asked to clarify if this access fee would continue when Legion goes live.

Response from the playerbase has been quite negative, but Blizzard remains firm that these service charges are a necessary evil, due to players having earned too much gold from the particularly lucrative treasure hunter garrison missions in Warlords of Draenor.

"We've thought long and hard about this, and we've decided that that best solution is to nickel-and-dime our playerbase for everyday conveniences that they've adored and been accustomed to for years!" explained new Lead Finance Manager Trade Prince Gallywix.

"It just made sense to start with the mailbox -- I mean, the Postmaster already works tirelessly to bring you those useless trash items you passed up, or by taking that excess Honor you earned that would have inconveniently put you over the Honor cap and throwing it in the garbage, then mailing you to tell you about it. It's only fair that they earn a working wage, in today's economy!"

Gallywix added that Blizzard was "listening carefully" to feedback, and that they would be considering alternate options for players.

"Oh, don't you worry! We only want what's best for you, which is why we're offering a special way for players to bypass these service charges! For the low, low cost of only $10, players can purchase the Elite Mailbox account option from the Blizzard Shop, and enjoy full, unrestricted use of their mailbox for an entire month! That's our gift to you, loyal subscribers!"

When asked if Blizzard had any plans to introduce similar gold charges for other existing in-game services, Gallywix shrugged.

"Hey, you never know. We're thinking about maybe toll booths at instance portals, with stamp cards so your 11th zone-in is free. Or maybe we'll make major cooldowns have a one-hour cooldown, which players can reduce for a small, teensy-tiny Shop fee. The possibilities are endless!"

Ashran groups now limited to one player per side

"Exploit that, fuckers," said Holinka.

Flying in Legion will be acquired through Pet Battles, announces Blizzard

Players will be able to fly in Legion, as long as they know how to Pet Battle.

"We appreciate the spirited discussion that is still taking place regarding flying in Warlords of Draenor," said Blizzard Senior Designer Jeremy "Muffinus" Feasel in a surprise press conference this morning. "We understand that many players were disappointed not knowing if and when they would be able to fly in Draenor, which is why we've decided to tell you now in advance that flying in Legion will be directly linked to your Pet Battling prowess!"

After pausing to fistbump fellow designer Jonathan "Crafticus" LeCraft, Feasel went on to say that at some point "early in Legion, probably 7.0.1," players will be able to earn the ability to fly by completing a new meta-achievement called Broken Isles Petfinder. This achievement will encompass a variety of pet battling accomplishments, such as catching all 563 new battle pets found in the Broken Isles (including the rare Born Val'kyr, who shares its Unborn cousin's always popular spawn patterns), and collecting 100 of Legion's new Pet Treasures, found by feeding your pets Magical Pet Biscuits and rummaging through the resulting droppings. Players will also need to complete the [An Awfully Big Broken Adventure] and [The Felestial Tournament] achievements, and reach Revered with two new reputations, Ashlei and Lil' Illy.

"We got the idea after seeing a post on the forums that suggested flying speed be gated by Mythic raid progression," explained Feasel. "Now obviously, that idea was just plain stupid, but it did make us realize that gating flying behind pet battles would be a totally awesome idea!"

Feasel added that this new process "took some convincing," but in the end, Legion's development team agreed that this would ensure flying remained a well-deserved reward, and not something to be taken for granted.

"Ultimately, we felt that only players dedicated enough to have a blue-quality level 25 P/S breed Tiny Snowman deserved to be able to fly this expansion," said Feasel, adding that the Snowman was "basically mandatory" to defeat at least five of Legion's elite tamers and Artifact pets.

"We believe this strikes the right balance between ensuring non-Pet Battle-based content lives up to its full potential, while providing players who’ve already fully experienced Legion's Pet Battle world extra freedom to 'break the rules,'" added Feasel. "This also provides a general blueprint going forward for content to come. Players will discover new and undiscovered Pets from the ground, and then once they’ve fully pummeled those pets into submission, they can take to the skies and experience the world from a new vantage point!"

When asked how players would gain reputation with Ashlei and Lil' Illy, Feasel stated that these would be classic reputation grinds, which are always huge hits among the playerbase.

"It's simple, really," said Feasel. "Every pet battle you win with an Elekk Plushie on your team earns you 10 reputation with Ashlei, who as we all recall, is a big fan of her own Plushie friend, Doodle! As for Lil' Illy, players will be able to challenge Maiev Shadowsong to a special pet battle every day, and defeating her will earn you a whopping 100 reputation with him! That's right Maiev fans, we told you she'd be back in a big, important role, and we weren't about to let you down!"

Lead game designer Tom Chilton then appeared onstage and added that to stay consistent with game lore, female Night Elf priests would automatically begin at Honored with Lil' Illy, while male Night Elf druids would start "At War" with him.

Immediately after Feasel's announcement, the WoW community exploded into activity. World-first guild Paragon quickly amended their guild requirements, which now state that potential applicants must speak Finnish, have extensive Mythic raiding experience, and must also own all four Celestial Tournament pets. Meanwhile, a forum thread created this morning titled "NERF EMERALD PROTO-WHELP!!!!!" has already received 1500+ replies, though at least half of these are simply telling the thread author to "just howl bomb it, lol."

Shipyard Workers Go On Strike, Nobody Notices

Dozens of Alliance shipyard workers went on strike last week to demand improved employment conditions, but were dismayed when they realized no one had even noticed.

"We get no respect," said despondent Shipyard Foreman Merreck Vonder, gazing out at the empty docks and inactive bilge pumps. "We slave away for our Commanders tirelessly, for hours on end, real back-breaking work to make sure our naval expeditions are the best they can be. But they could care less! And then we walk off the job, to take a stand and make a point -- and they don't even notice we're gone!"

"Just last week my crew finished building a magnificent new Battleship," lamented Vonder, taking another swig of his Rumsey Rum Black Label. "60-foot lacquered masts, meticulously hand-carved rails, elementium cannons imported all the way from the Eastern Kingdoms...probably the finest ship I've ever built. Vonder's Pride, I named it, before sending a runner to fetch the Commander."

Vonder pounded his fist on the abandoned mission table. "And d'you know what she said? 'Really, Vonder? A crew of dwarves?' And then she ordered it destroyed, and told me to start building her a new one!"

"Now, I'm not trying to imply the Commanders are racist or anything," whispered Vonder, leaning in close. "But doesn't anyone else think it's just a wee bit odd that they all seem to just want human crews? Just saying!"

Even these human members are not entirely pleased with their life in the shipyards. "I've always wanted to be an Alliance sailor, ever since I was a little kid," said Quinn, a Boatswain participating in the strike. "But how can I write my family back in Westfall and tell them I'm proudly serving on the H.M.S. Jeff? Or that today I helped put the finishing touches on our new Destroyer, The Nut Vice??"

When asked if these were the only issues shipyard workers were dissatisfied with, Vonder sighed and shook his head, producing a long scroll of names from his vest pocket.

"These are all the brave men and women we've lost at sea these last few months, sent off on suicidal, harebrained missions," said Vonder bitterly. "I keep telling management, 'Commander, look at these storms! We can't possibly sail under these conditions!' or 'Commander, please! These ships you've selected aren't equipped to battle Horde submarines! We'll be blown out of the sea!' But they never listen! They send the ships out anyway, not even caring if they return safely home, and for what? A chance at a hundred gold? Some new boots??"

"Anyway, we had a long talk with our union rep, and he agreed that we shouldn't have to put up with this," said Vonder defiantly. "He recommended a full labor strike -- deny the Commanders our well-trained and highly-specialized services until they are forced to acknowledge our concerns and treat us better!"

"Wait, who? The shipyard? My shipyard?" said human Commander Kanta, when she heard about the strike. "Actually, come to think of it, it did seem a little quiet when I rode past the other day. But I was on my way to fish up some lunkers to impress Nat Pagle, so I had more important things on my mind."

When asked what she intended to do about the strike, Kanta laughed. "What am I going to do about it? Um, nothing?" She shrugged. "It's the shipyard. I stopped going there weeks ago. Who even cares?"

Transmog Spotlight: Fel Engineer

One of my favorite things about writing for Blizzard Watch is having a good excuse to have a fun new transmog for each article. With at least two weeks between columns, that's the perfect amount of time to think of and come up with a new outfit.

I'm actually a big fan of this PVP season's gear, the Demonbreaker Battleplate (recolor). Yeah, it's nothing super special or revolutionary in terms of design, but sometimes it's nice to just have trim shoulders that aren't gigantic or festooned with glowing spikes and chains and ogre skulls.

Fel Engineer
Head: Fel-Proof Goggles (Tanaan treasure)
Shoulders: Wild Combatant's Scaled Shoulders (Honor)
Chest: Garalon's Graven Carapace (Garalon, LFR)
Hands: Masterwork Spiritguard Gauntlets (Crafted)
Waist: Bloodscale Belt (BoE)
Legs: Wild Combatant's Scaled Legguards (Honor)
Feet: Prideful Gladiator's Warboots of Alacrity (Honor)

Weapon: Lava Spine (Magmaw, Normal)
Shield: Maw of Souls (Brackenspore, Normal)

While there are numerous belts that would match the black/silver motif, I stuck with my trusty heart belt because it makes for excellent contrast, it complements the red shoulder highlights and Fabulor's hair, and because, well, heart belt.

To match the neon green goggles - and to a lesser extent, the green "scarf" of the chestpiece - I figured the bright greens on the Lava Spine and Maw of Souls matched up pretty nicely. The Lava Spine always struck me as a bit out of place dropping in Blackwing Descent - its design and coloration really makes it seem more suitable to somewhere like Black Temple or, conveniently enough, Hellfire Citadel.