Lead Designer Cory Stockton tweeted last night that Blizzard hopes to get Stormwind repaired during patch 6.0's lifetime. Stormwind was destroyed during the cataclysm and Deathwing's onslaught. Ever since the place has had its fair share of ruins scattered about the city. In Mists part of the bridge and entry way leading to the Alliance hub was fixed, but that's all the progress that's been made.



Personally, I'm thrilled. Seems all the NPCs working their butts off to fix Deathwing's damage finally accomplished something. Good on them!
What happens when your favorite celebrities and fictional characters live together in the same apartment complex? Tomodachi Life happens. The result is less of a game and more of a reality television show starring a cast of deeply disturbed misfits.

Offering laid-back, simulation-styled gameplay in the vein of Nintendo's Animal Crossing series, Tomodachi Life presents a world similar to our own, with a surreal streak lurking beneath the surface. Tomodachi Life plants your custom-created Miis in the middle of situations that range from the mundane to the bizarre, and it's your job as caretaker to make sure they find happiness in life and love.

While a lack of gameplay depth makes the experience feel somewhat hollow, I'm glad that I had the opportunity to peer into Tomodachi Life's strange alternate universe, and the sheer sense of joy that its unassuming little island inspires makes it well worth a visit.

Must Reads

The PC version of the next entry in EA Sports' soccer series, FIFA 15, will be powered by the publisher's Ignite Engine. The engine was announced for next-gen versions of EA's sports games just over one year ago at Microsoft's pre-E3 2013 Xbox One event, though it was left out of FIFA 14's PC version.

The tech is reportedly used by the publisher to enhance the intelligence and motion of athletes in its games thanks to "four times more calculations per second" than past efforts. The results were apparent in games like FIFA 14 (seen above) and Madden 25 on PS4 and Xbox One, and now it seems PC devotees will get a version of FIFA that "will include all the same core features" on Sony and Microsoft's latest consoles. EA will have more news on FIFA 15 at its E3 2014 press event on Monday, June 9. Head past the break for the minimum and recommended PC specs for the game.

Darfon magnetic 'maglev' keyboard

Magnetic levitation keyboards have been around for a while, but they've never really taken off, or floated our boats, or attracted much atten... Anyway, a Taiwanese manufacturer called Darfon is persevering with the idea, and it's discovered that maglev keys, which rest on opposing magnets instead of mushy membranes or mechanical switches, can make laptop keyboards significantly thinner. Unfortunately, according to a CNET journalist who played with a couple of prototypes at Computex, the keys can be hard to type on if skinniness is taken to the extreme. Then again, there's scope to change the resistance of the keyboard electronically to suit your preference, and Darfon claims it has already received orders from laptop makers who are targeting launches later this year. If that's true, perhaps the technology isn't so repellant after all.

[Image credit: Aloysius Low / CNET]

Google's latched on to Diane von Fürstenberg as the solution for making Glass fashion-forward, unveiling a collection of frames made by the famed Belgian designer last week. While it remains to be seen whether trendy-colored frames can make a $1,500 wearable more appealing, a few smaller companies here at Computex in Taiwan have some novel ideas that could make you more willing to strap a mini-computer on your face... or your wrist.

An enhanced, DLC-bundled retail version of Xbox One racer Forza Motorsport 5 will launch next month, developer Turn 10 Studios told IGN today.

Forza Motorsport 5: Racing Game of the Year features 18 tracks and 10 additional vehicles previously featured in April's Top Gear Car Pack. News of Forza 5's re-release follows up on the recent unveiling of Forza Horizon 2, an open-world driving game premiering this fall for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Forza Motorsport 5: Racing Game of the Year will hit store shelves worldwide on July 22.

[Image: Microsoft]
Okay, so the standard caveats apply. This is an Alpha test of Warlords of Draenor, it's confined to the Frostfire Ridge, and there are of course tons of bugs because it's an Alpha test, and an Alpha test of an expansion to a ten year old game. Also, I'm not going to spoil anything really significant, but if you keep reading this you're basically saying I want to know more about this expansion that isn't done or out yet, so there are going to be spoilers. It's unavoidable.

So first up, let me tell you the gist of what's happening. So far, the only thing being tested is Frostfire Ridge. That means Horde, so you end up seeing a lot of Horde screenshots and hearing about Horde questing, Horde garrisons and Horde in general. Just a whole lotta Horde. The music? Amazing. I guess that's to be expected, but still.

Also, I deliberately went with orc and tauren characters because of their new models. Cause we all want to see the new models. So I'll start my impressions with those.

Osmo adapter for iPad with letter game

In a few short years, the iPad has gone from geeky luxury item to a ubiquitous, incredibly popular device -- and that's especially true with the fickle, frantic audience we call "the kids." Little hands love Apple's portable, touchable tablet... maybe a little bit too much. Parents and educators may be wondering if all this tablet time is the best way to engage and entertain young minds that learn most effectively by engaging with the physical world along with the virtual one.

This tension between the allure of the iPad and the need to keep kids connected to reality is why the current pre-launch campaign for Osmo is so intriguing. With a remarkably simple hardware mirror module + stand to reorient the iPad's front-facing camera down towards a tabletop, plus some very clever software and visual recognition engineering, Osmo creates a "tangible play" experience that helps kids get out of the locked-in relationship with the iPad screen, and reconnects them to the people and objects around them.

Osmo's three announced games -- Words, Tangram, and Newton -- all take advantage of the downward-view camera and the iPad's processing power to recognize what players are doing with real objects in the real world. For Tangram, it's geometric primitives assembled to match the onscreen design; with Words, players toss letters into the play zone to help answer clues. Newton is a "dots to target" puzzle game with a twist; the falling balls bounce off a drawing, objects or even a finger visible in the play field. It's easier to understand once you see it in action, as below.

According to co-founder/CEO and ex-Googler Pramod Sharma, the kids in the promo video had never used or even seen the Osmo apps before they stepped in to be filmed. Their interactions and first impressions are what you see here.

Osmo's pre-launch approach follows the example of a couple of other "quasi-crowdfunded" products, where the funding campaign is effectively an advance sale program; unlike many Kickstarter or Indiegogo hardware projects, the design and development of Osmo was locked pre-campaign. That didn't hold back its popularity, though; the product hit its $50,000 presale target within a few hours of the May 22 launch, and the second batch of pre-order units is now up for grabs.

To sweeten the deal for early adopters (who get a $49 purchase price, versus the launch amount of $99 per Osmo, and additional $5 discounts for referrals), the company is promising that backers will get free downloads of any additional games released in the first two years of Osmo's sales. They'll also get a two-year replacement warranty if they lose any game pieces.

With a target audience of kindergarteners through 12-year-olds, the Osmo market is nice and wide; schools and educators that have had a chance to help play-test and refine the product are expressing early enthusiasm for it. At the moment, however, it's parents and kids that Osmo wants to reach in advance of its late summer on-sale date. If it looks good to you, the pre-order desk is open.

Tesla needn't be furious with New Jersey anymore after a new bill has passed that could lift of a ban on direct-to-customer sales in the state. After Governor Chris Christie assisted the Motor Vehicle Commission in putting the kibosh on its electric cars over two months ago, NJ.com reports that a review committee has done something about the decades-old law that allowed them to do so. In a unanimous vote, the state's Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee passed a bill that not only gives Tesla the right to resume sales in its two existing New Jersey showrooms, but also allow it to open two more. It's a big win for electric car makers in general, as it allows any company that sells zero-emission vehicles directly to customers to open up to four stores in the Garden State. It effectively puts the 1970 law that requires cars to be sold through dealerships on notice, but there were also calls for the state to better protect the dealer "status quo." The FTC has already said such amendments hurt competition, but has no real power to enact change. It must rely on lawmakers, like those in New Jersey, to draw their own conclusions and restore the sales rights Tesla believes it deserves. The bill will need to pass a few more of New Jersey's legislative processes to become law, but things are looking up for Tesla.

Friday is usually a slow news day in the tech world, but not today. We have a heapin' helpin' of hot Apple news to serve up:

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook is a huge football fan, being both a supporter of Auburn University's Tigers and a member of the board of directors of the National Football Foundation. And now, the company he leads has promised US$2 million towards helping the Bay Area host the 50th National Football League championship game, AKA "Super Bowl L" (yeah, that Roman number 50 looks odd...). Google, Yahoo, Intel and other companies have also chipped in, and if all works out for the organizing committee, the 2016 Super Bowl could be held at the soon-to-be-opened Levi's Stadium (see image at top) in Santa Clara, CA.
  • PayPal's talking about using Apple's Touch ID capabilities in its iOS apps as soon as possible. Apple has opened up the Touch ID APIs to developers in iOS 8, opening the door for the mobile payment giant to take advantage of Apple's fingerprint security technology. Rumor has it that Apple will begin building Touch ID into every iOS device announced beginning this year.
  • Apple executives Tim Cook and Eddy Cue were on hand in Austin, TX yesterday for an opening celebration of the new Apple campus there. The new buildings host Apple support, engineering, and operations facilities, and are just the first of a planned expansion that won't be completed until 2021.
  • Remember the Vaavud wind meter for iOS devices that TUAW reviewed last August? The manufacturer is hosting an outdoor adventure video competition, with applicants sharing adventures using the Vaavud in the most creative and adventurous situations. Here's your chance to win prizes from more Vaavud wind meters all the way up to a DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter.
  • The folks over at 9to5Mac are reporting that HealthKit apparently supports some Bluetooth health accessories natively, meaning that the manufacturers no longer have to supply their own apps along with the devices.

No one expected it go this far. Microsoft at its world-conquering peak was a software company, growing fat on the ubiquity of Microsoft Office and Windows. Even today that's where its cash money blood comes from. A consumer product like the Xbox? What chance could it possibly have? Before Xbox hit shelves, that's what everyone thought. J Allard, the Xbox console line's pappy, knew different.

"Each generation of console has spawned new players, and there are new entrants virtually every generation, and there has been a new leader in every generation, and some that have persisted over multiple generations," said Allard back in 2000, nearly 18 months before Xbox came out. "I think that from Microsoft's point of view, we have to be in it for the long haul. This is not a one time thing. We really want to redefine Microsoft and make Microsoft an entertainment company. So our entrance strategy is divided between short-term focus, making the world's greatest console, but with an eye towards the future, so that we start building franchises and properties today that will endure over several console generations, as well as making investments in the hardware and the programs and our relationship with partners that will last over the next two decades, as we expand this medium to its full potential."

It worked. Thanks to hits like Halo: Combat Evolved, Microsoft firmly entrenched itself in the game console business enough to make the Xbox 360 a roaring success. The company stumbled in communicating Xbox One's place in the line's forward-thinking lineage, but that machine still has a strong audience heading into E3 2014. Hence why we're highlighting it in the penultimate week of our great E3 2014 giveaway.

We're giving away 14 free Xbox One and Xbox 360 games for the Microsoft devotee this week. In order to get your hands on these games, write to us at podcast@joystiq.com with the subject line "E3 Giveaway Week 7" by 10AM EST on Monday, June 9th and tell us what original Xbox game that never got a sequel you want to see reborn on Xbox One. One random selectee will win the lot.
Pathfinder
GoblinWorks released a new Pathfinder dev blog this week. In a nutshell, the team is kicking off the fantasy sandbox's alpha test in very short order. The first week or two "will be an internal test" comprised of employees and family members, writes CEO Ryan Dancey.

Dancey also points out that alpha really does mean alpha, but even so, GoblinWorks will not restrict testers with any sort of NDA. Click through the links below for more info!

[Thanks Chrysillis!]

Blizzard
Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Matthew Rossi will be your host today.

Seriously, check her out. I mean, everyone looks kind of badass with the moon behind them like that, but still, check her out. I really like how she moves, too. Combat animations aren't wildly different, but they have a bit more heft to them. I'm thinking of rolling a forsaken soon to see how that feels.

No spoilers for the Alpha from me - been running around on various toons to try out all three warrior specs. Prot feels the strongest. For those of you who don't play warriors, I rolled a DK and a paladin and both killed things admirably considering I was just hitting buttons at random. Gonna try an enhancement shaman tomorrow, I think.

ScottLeyes asked:

If you were going to assign WoW classes to "real world" historical occupations, where would Warriors fit?

They're not Knights (that's Paladins), so would they be mercenaries? Rhonin? Barbarians?

Look, he asked.

Anyway, actually, they would be knights. The vast majority of knights were at best professional warriors - guys like William Marshal were stone badasses, but they didn't do a lot of praying or healing people. It also really depends on what period in history we're talking about - Sir Elton John doesn't go around smashing people with a sword or casting Holy Wrath. You'd be hard pressed to find real human beings who could live up to a WoW paladin, but almost anyone can be a warrior - kill things, don't die. That's pretty much all you'd need. I'm deliberately not going into the nuts and bolt of the medieval knight as a warrior class - all that land they owned provided them the wealth they needed to afford that armor, horse and weapons and the years of training in how to use them. Mainly because this is a website about World of Warcraft and not Morris Bishop's The Middle Ages.

Similarly, Aleister Crowley didn't actually cast a lot of spells, so it really depends on how 'real world' you want to get with this. You could have a lot of fun imagining that a portal to Azeroth opened in 1900 and various real world historical figures learned abilities from WoW, if you're that kind of person. I may be that kind of person, but there's only so much room in the Queue for me to talk about how World War I would have been very different if we had individual soldiers who could summon armies of the dead, raise the dead, throw fireballs, or carry two swords each the size of a whole person.

A few months back at CES, I found myself at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway as a guest at BMW's "Highly Autonomous Driving" demo. While our cameraman set up his gear and I pondered what I was going to say about BMW's mystery kit, I watched one of the carmaker's drivers hooning through a wet section of the track drifting an M235i. Little did I know at the time that the driver wasn't actually driving: He was a passenger. That night, BMW suggested self-driving cars were years off, maybe as many as 10. But Google's just shown us its vision, and the "when" is much, much closer. Despite my racing-heavy introduction earlier this year, the automakers want to sell self-driving cars as a safety blanket. And if they can prove its ability to save lives, it'll become a reality in short order.

Mario Maker may be one of Nintendo's E3 reveals, at least if the above image is genuine. The photo, posted by Nintendo Enthusiast, is alleged to be of Nintendo's show floor at next week's conference in LA. The grainy image makes it hard to tell, but both it and the name suggest a kind of content creation game based around making your own 2D Mario levels.

Nintendo Enthusiast doesn't note how it obtained the photo, so be sure to apply the grain-of-salt rule to what you're seeing; this is very firmly an unconfirmed rumor. Either way, we'll find out what Nintendo has up its sleeve in a few days' time, both at the show and during the company's live stream event.

Update: Hat tip to eagle-eyed commenter arockefellow, who notes what looks like - it's hard to say for sure - grey bases beneath The Villager, Pikachu and Kirby. Of course that could just be innocuous, or maybe we're looking at NFC integration with Super Smash Bros. Again, the image is unverified, so keep those salt grains near.
[Image: Nintendo Enthusiast]
APTOPIX Kazakhstan Russia Space Station

The Soyuz-FG rocket booster and Soyuz TMA-13M space ship are shown here on a long exposure image of the launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. The cargo? Three astronauts headed to the International Space Station. Russian commander Maksim Suraev, American flight engineer Gregory Wiseman, and European astronaut Alexander Gerst will join Steve Swanson and Russians Oleg Artemyev currently aboard the ISS.

Renewable energy is getting better all the time, but no-one's yet worked out a good way to store the juice for those cloudy, windless days. Batteries do work, but given the high cost of swapping out the cells for your EV, we doubt that Duracell will start making a five-megawatt version any time soon. That's why British company Isentropic is developing a system that could store energy in cells that are filled with gravel. Using Argon gas and a heat-exchange pump, the electrical energy from solar panels or wind turbines is used to warm the gravel. When the energy is required, the process is reversed, and the heat is used to drive an engine that creates power ready for the grid. It's nowhere near as efficient as other power storage systems, since you'll only get out about 75 percent of what you put in, but the low cost and ease of installation means that it's not so outrageous as you think. It's a shame that the gravel has to be stored in a tank full of Argon -- we quite liked the idea of filling the boot of an EV with rocks, or even just parking it on an energy-storing driveway, before driving away.

PS4 owners can now buy games like Towerfall and Octodad: Dadliest Catch by stuffing their wallets full of moola from their PayPal accounts. Those looking to fund their digital purchases in this manner can do so on their PS4 consoles during the checkout process by selecting "Add Funds," then the PayPal option and picking the amount of dough to add to their wallet.

Alternatively, players will be able to access the chunk of change in their PayPal accounts via their Sony Entertainment Network accounts, which are tied to their PSN wallets. Similar to the console method, eager buyers simply need to log in, select the "Account" tab, then the "Wallet" section, click "Add funds to Wallet," then follow the instructions to use PayPal as their funding option. PayPal funding, which was added to PS3 in November, is available to PS4 owners in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Argentina.
[Image: PayPal]