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See all the new features that have been confirmed from ‘World of Warcraft: Shadowlands’

Here’s a look at all the details Blizzard has revealed about Shadowlands so far, so you can learn more about the changes this popular MMORPG will receive.

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World of Warcraft is the most representative MMORPG of all and throughout its long history has known how to keep its players faithful to the game, even for more than a decade. One of the main reasons for WoW’s success has been its expansions, which have known how to improve and change the World of Warcraft atmosphere. 

During BlizzCon 2019, the annual event organized by Blizzard where the next releases of this company are announced, the highlight was undoubtedly the confirmation of the much awaited Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV, but also caused quite excitement the announcement of the new expansion of World of Warcraft.

The new expansion of this emblematic MMORPG is called World of Warcraft: Shadowlands and will be launched this year. That said, here’s a look at all the details Blizzard has revealed about Shadowlands so far, so you can learn more about the changes this popular MMORPG will receive.

The inclusion of the Covenants

One of the new mechanics that Shadowlands will include is the inclusion of “Covenants”. At a certain point in the Shadowlands, the heroes will have to choose which Covenant they will join. The Covenants consist of congregations that have different objectives in the Shadowlands, which are based on achieving balance in these lands. Each of the covenants in the game will have its own tabernacle, a place where the characters will congregate.

In the tabernacles, it will be possible to accept unique missions for each pact participate in an exclusive campaign and invoke allies to carry out important missions. In addition, players will be able to learn unique abilities based on the Covenant they have selected as well as their own mount, unique skins and new skills. Blizzard is still debating whether the aforementioned unique items in each pact can be equipped on other characters or will be exclusive to the hero who unlocks them.

The new and interesting huge dungeon of Shadowlands

WoW expansions have always offered interesting raids and dungeons that always end up being a real challenge for players, and Shadowlands is no exception. This expansion will include a new dungeon that can be explored alone or by a group of up to five people, called “Torghast, the tower of the damned”. It has been confirmed that this dungeon will be huge and will be characterized by the fact that its content will be generated in a completely random way every time someone goes inside.

The most dangerous souls in the cosmos and the greatest heroes of Azeroth are confined to this tower, while the whole place is ruled by the jailer. The players must go through the different floors of this dungeon until they manage to rescue them all. As players progress through the tower, they will be unlocking more powers and unique items that will be essential to continue their lives to the end. Blizzard has also confirmed that if enough progress is made in Torghast, materials will be available that will be needed to create legendary armours and weapons along with other surprises to be discovered in the future.

The maximum level will have a new regulation

One of the first features that Shadowlands will have is confirmation of a rumor that has been around for a long time.  Since the Burning Crusade expansion, the maximum level that characters could reach has been constantly increasing with each expansion that was released, until the current Battle for Azeroth, where the maximum level reached 120, which turned out to be an unnecessarily huge amount for Blizzard, so it was decided to reduce everything by half.

That said, the new maximum level that can be reached in Shadowlands will be level 60. This change will cause all characters who are level 120 to be level 50 when they arrive at Shadowlands, where players will have to get the experience necessary to get back to the maximum level which this time is 60.

This new level regulation will be realized because Blizzard has the desire to make sense of the task of raising levels again. Currently in Battle for Azeroth, reaching level 120 takes an excessive amount of time and is usually not very rewarding. For this reason, Blizzard hopes that with this regulation, players will once again find the thrill of leveling up and that they will clearly notice the character’s improvement as they progress.

In addition to these changes, new characters will now be introduced to a new area exclusively for them, where everyone with a level from 1 to 10 will be able to explore a dungeon that will function as a tutorial on Azeroth. All characters with insufficient level to enter Shadowlands will have the freedom to enjoy any content from the previous expansion (Battle for Azeroth) or they will also be able to contact Cromi to travel to the past and be able to face the missions of Terrallende, Rasganorte, Pandaria, etc. Until they reach the required level 50.

Other interesting news

It is known that Shadowlands will be distributed in three different editions that will differ in the content they will include and in their price.

It should also be noted that in this new expansion the inhabitants of the Eternal City of Shadowlands will be able to trade anima, which will be used for in-game exchanges. This change in the economic system of WoW can have a significant influence on the parallel trades that sell WoW gold, because with this new expansion, players must take into account the anima before considering to buy WoW Gold.

So far, it has been confirmed that Shadowlands will have eight dungeons, four of which will be used to level up, while the rest will be focused on completing them with the maximum level, such as the Nathria Castle raid, which will have a total of ten final bosses to defeat.

Another very interesting aspect that Shadowlands will include is the diversity of skin colors for its characters in order to better represent reality. Although this detail is better appreciated in humans, it is also expected to be included in the other races.

Those were all the features that are known so far in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, which are quite interesting and have a lot of anticipation for its players. Having said that, we’ll just have to wait and see what big changes the unbeatable World of Warcraft will undergo.

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Montenegro legalizes same-sex civil partnerships

Montenegro legalized same-sex civil partnerships, in a 42-5 vote among the country’s lawmakers. With this move, it becomes the first European country outside of Western Europe and the European Union to legally recognize same-sex couples.

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Photo by roemi62 at Pixabay.com

Montenegro legalized same-sex civil partnerships, in a 42-5 vote among the country’s lawmakers. With this move, it becomes the first European country outside of Western Europe and the European Union to legally recognize same-sex couples.

This is not a complete win, by any means.

While the new law will give same-sex couples the same legal rights as mixed-sex couples, same-sex couples will not have the right to adopt.

The country’s president, Milo Đukanović, tweeted that they were now “one step closer to joining the most developed world democracies.”

The law will come into effect next year, with details yet to be finalized, as well as government clerks needing to undergo training.

Montenegro’s pro-LGBTQIA move is only one of the country’s moves largely driven by its attempt to join the European Union. Another move includes anti-discrimination training for police services and health workers.

Photo by falco at Pixabay.com

Still in the Balkans, parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina are also set to start a consultation that could mean the government starts recognizing same-sex relationships. Now this is worth highlighting: The country is divided into two self-governing entities, and only the Federation is considering the move. The conservative Republika Srpska, which covers less than the Federation, is not considering it.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Discover who you are and how best to live with ancient technologies

Regardless of where you’re at on your life journey there’s never a better time to cut the noise and practice an ancient technology that has worked for generations.

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The world is a confusing place, which isn’t helped by the bombardment of information we are expected to process on a daily basis. We get conflicting messages all the time about who we are, who we are supposed to be, and what’s essential in life. It can be we know ourselves pretty well, the data deluge can easily throw it all into doubt.

Regardless of where you’re at on your life journey there’s never a better time to cut the noise and practice an ancient technology that has worked for generations. 

Meditation 

Meditation is perhaps older than time, it’s certainly older than recorded history. The first evidence of humans meditating are carvings and wall art in ancient India that depicts people sitting in lotus positions. Fast-forward 5000 years and there are seven billion people on the planet, most of whom are plugged into the internet. Practising meditation might take a lifetime to master but accessing these ancient technologies has never been easier. There are many types of mediation to choose from, including: mindfulness, movement, and transcendental. Not all meditation types will work for everyone. The key is to try out some different ones to see what you like best or what meets your goals.

Enneagram 

For those unfamiliar with the Enneagram, it’s an ancient mathematical model for determining your personality type. Some think it came from the Sufi tradition, others that it’s from ancient Christianity, or related to Pythagoras. The Enneagram is a nine-sided shape each of which represents an archetype of worldview of the way people think and what they value. It is much more than a simple personality test.

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Using questions the Enneagram can dig deep into the core traits, motivations, defence mechanisms and fears that live in the unconscious layers of our personalities. Find out what your Enneagram number is and it will empower you to be a more conscious human being, someone happier, and able to understand others much better. 

Yoga

Yoga is another ancient human technology that has come into fashion in a big way. When you think of yoga you might think of the cobra pose, the downward facing dog, of the child’s pose. You might also think of people striking impressive poses on rocky vistas. This is how yoga is presented to us in the 21st century, but in reality, it is more than that – and much simpler also. Yoga is an appreciation of the natural world and our place within it. It is simply bringing awareness to our breath and controlling it in a skillful way. Yoga is also lifestyle – how we eat, how we choose to exercise. All of these practices will bring you closer to who you are and improve your life.

Ayurveda

Ayurveda is a much lesser known life science that is starting to gain popularity among those interested in tailoring their lifestyle to their specific mental, physical, and emotional characteristics. It is an ancient Indian science of medicine that promotes health through prevention using lifestyle choices and a selection of herbs. The theory is that everyone has a particular energy pattern which comprises their own constitution. This constitution is determined by a number of factors and remains fairly constant throughout a lifetime. By analyzing this energy pattern, best practice choices can be made about what foods to eat, when to eat, among other things.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Three crucial steps for a thriving business

If your business is surviving, but not thriving, take these three crucial steps to get the most out of your company.

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If you’re a business owner, you may think that simply surviving the COVID-19 crisis, and the financial impacts it has had, is enough. Think again.

If your business is surviving, but not thriving, take these three crucial steps to get the most out of your company. 

IMAGE SOURCE: PEXELS.COM

Provide excellent customer service

While you likely set out to solve a problem that a customer was facing or provide a product that someone was in search of, it may have been lost somewhere along the road. It’s time to remember that. So, instead of just offering middling service at best, make sure your customer service is optimal.

Go the extra mile when you can; if a customer has a question that you don’t have the direct answer to, point them to an expert that might. Is your customer asking for an upgrade, a product, or something that you don’t offer yet but might? Don’t forget to reach out directly to them as soon as you do have it available, whether that means salted chocolate chip cookies if you own a bakery, or a new way to track receipts if you offer a SaaS solution to finances.

Offer the type of customer service that you want when you frequent a business. Each customer you interact with has their own unique customer experience, so remember that when providing them your solution or product. 

Do not cut prices even during a crisis

Don’t underestimate your company’s worth. Many start-up businesses under value their product, solution, or service. When this happens, they don’t charge enough. And do you know what happens? People don’t think they’re getting a great deal when they work with you. They just expect that you are providing them the price that you see necessary to charge them.  Investigate your pricing strategy and make sure it aligns with your product. 

There is evidence that shows when two identical services are offered at different prices, people will often go with the higher price. Why? They simply assume it’s better. If your product is good, do not cut prices, offer coupons, or boast that you’re the cheapest in the area. Not only are you attracting the wrong customers by doing this, but you’re also likely to lose customers when you raise prices that weer previously unsustainable. 

IMAGE SOURCE: PEXELS.COM

Stop overpromising and under-delivering

If a car mechanic tells you that they can fix your car by that evening, you expect it to be finished by the end of the day, right? When you go to pick it up, only to find that it actually won’t be done for three more days, you’re probably more than a little miffed. What would happen though if the mechanic initially told you they’d let you know a timeframe, but expected it to be finished in about three days, and actually had it done in two? You’d think, “Wow, that was fast!”

Instead of overpromising and under-delivering, be honest with your customers. If you are planning to have an update for your app by the end of the month, be realistic. Don’t promise them more than you can actually deliver on in the allotted amount of time, and your customers will learn to trust you. 

Growing your business takes work

Growing a business isn’t all rainbows and cupcakes. It takes years of hard work and dedication, but if you want your company to thrive, not just survive, it’s time to kick it up a notch. 

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Lifestyle & Culture

Surviving COVID-19: 5 Strategies hotels should implement ASAP

Even when the pandemic ends, the practice of social distancing, fear of large crowds, and quarantining may continue to linger for months or even years. This means that business owners need to keep up with this drastic shift in consumer behavior.

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The coronavirus outbreak that started in Wuhan, China has spread like wildfire throughout the world. With the world on hold, global travel has been put to a stop, causing a huge blow to the hospitality industry, particularly hotels. Travel bans mean less tourists, and less tourists mean lesser hotel guests.  

Even when it ends, the practice of social distancing, fear of large crowds, and quarantining may continue to linger for months or even years. This means that business owners need to keep up with this drastic shift in consumer behavior. Keep in mind that many of your potential guests may develop a lasting stigma against crowded places, including hotel lobbies, busy restaurants, schools, offices, and more. 

According to the STR and Tourism Economics, the hotel industry is projected to suffer a 50.6% decline in revenue per available room (RevPAR) in 2020 due to COVID-19. In another research from CBRE, since the outbreak began in January 2020, it will take approximately 6-10 months for hotel demand to increase and 12 to 16 months for average daily rate (ADR) and RevPAR to gain footing. 

With that said, hoteliers need to take proactive measures to prepare for recovery once this dies down. Here are five strategies hotels should implement to survive the effects of COVID-19. 

1. Inform Your Customers of Critical COVID-19 Information

Be sure your customers know of the changes in hotel operations due to COVID-19. Inform them whether your hotel is open, as well as cancellation policies for reservations made before the outbreak. Also, don’t forget to let them know that you have a prevention plan in place. 

You can connect with your customers via website, social media, emails, and local listings. Your website and social media platforms should contain the following necessary information in which to put your customers at ease:

  • Cancellation Policy – the best route is to waive cancellation fees or allow guests to rebook.
  • Address Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19
  • Comprehensive Prevention Plan
  • How Your Hotel is Helping the Community
  • Contact Information

2. Recognize the Efforts of Front liners

Doctors, nurses, hospital staff, security guards, cashiers, garbage collectors, medical technicians – these are just some of the people who work in the frontlines to fight the war against COVID-19. Recognizing their efforts is the least we can do to repay their service. 

For hoteliers, you might consider offering discounted rates for front-liners and first responders. Some hotels are now offering complimentary rooms for healthcare professionals with the help of the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Hospitality for Hope. 

If you want to give a little something to the first responders, you can donate food from your restaurant to local hospitals, offer more affordable rates, offer complimentary rooms, or donate to relief and recovery funds. 

3. Connect with Existing and Potential Guests on Social Media

Since everyone is quarantining, the use of social media has drastically increased over the past few weeks. It’s a great opportunity for business owners, especially hoteliers, to stay connected with your guests and engage with them through posting travel and destination content. 

You can ask previous hotel guests to share a picture from their past stay, share photos of your hotels, post pictures of your area, share virtual tours of tourist spots, or ask your clients to share their favorite touristy activity in your city. 

If your hotel has a gym, you can post at-home workout videos. You can create videos or instructional guides to keep your guests fit while they’re confined to their home. These are just some of the ways to stay connected amid a global pandemic. 

4. Try Upselling

As travel and dine-in demands are being put on hold, every hotelier’s strategy should include looking for strategies to build additional revenue. For it to be effective, you need to figure out what your customers need and want. 

You can encourage guests to book in advance by offering them premium rooms at a discount. You can also offer longer stays for a lower price. For example, book a four-night stay and get the fifth at 50% off. 

This inspires business travelers to extend their stay and encourages potential guests to enjoy a relaxing stay post-pandemic. If your hotel has a dining area or a wellness spa, you can maximize your revenue by offering gift cards. For your restaurant, you can offer delivery or pickup orders. 

5. Personalize Your Marketing Campaigns

Pandemic or no pandemic, personalizing your marketing campaigns is vital to your success. By doing this, your customers will feel important. Whether you want to reach out to business travelers or encourage advance bookings, it always helps to send personalized messages to potential guests. 

With so much on your plate, it can be tempting to generate an automated marketing message. However, you can use this time to get to know your audience and connect with them. You can also try using campaign management software to schedule posts in advance, which will keep your messages aligned. 

Combat the Effects of COVID-19 with These Hotel Financing Options

The effects of COVID-19 in the hotel industry are inevitable. However, as the saying goes: “Those who fail to plan – plan to fail.” 

If you need financial assistance, there are different hotel financing options you can choose from. Taking out a loan may seem counterintuitive, but fortunately there are lending companies that offer flexible repayment terms. 

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Technology

Know thy history; revisit the first 10 years of San Francisco’s Pride

Even Pride gatherings are getting confused nowadays – e.g. Is it still to protest, or (even if the organizers claim it’s a “protest”) is it really just one big party? A revisit to Pride’s history – at least of San Francisco’s, in the US – has opened to help every-all see how everything was in the early days.

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Third World Gay Caucus contingent, San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade, 1977; photograph by Marie Ueda, Marie Ueda Collection (2006-12), GLBT Historical Society.

Even Pride gatherings are getting confused nowadays – e.g. Is it still to protest, or (even if the organizers claim it’s a “protest”) is it really just one big party? Should events highlight the not-that-pretty/sexy yet still ongoing struggles, or just focus on the glamour (and while at it, earn organizers big bucks)? And part of this confusion stems from the lack of awareness, if not appreciation of Pride’s history.

A revisit to Pride’s history – at least of San Francisco’s, in the US – has opened to help every-all see how everything was in the early days.

Organized by the GLBT Historical Society, with the support of San Francisco Pride, “Labor of Love: The Birth of San Francisco Pride, 1970–1980” showcases how San Francisco’s LGBTQIA community in the 1970s forged the annual celebration that would come to be known as the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Parade.

On June 27, 1970, a small group marched down Polk Street, and the following day staged a “gay-in” picnic in Golden Gate Park. Over the course of the decade, Pride became an annual San Francisco event, growing by leaps and bounds. Initially referred to as Christopher Street West — to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riot on that street in New York City — and then as Gay Freedom Day, Pride drew some 250,000 participants and spectators in 1980. 

“Labor of Love” revisits the first 10 years of San Francisco Pride using historic photographs, ephemera, artifacts, and film and sound recordings from the archives of the GLBT Historical Society and from community members. The exhibition explores the goals, the controversies, the hard work, the desires and the sometimes-competing spirits of struggle and celebration that laid the foundation for one of the city’s best-known public festivals. 

The exhibition is co-curated by Gerard Koskovich, a public historian and rare book dealer; Don Romesburg, professor of gender and women’s studies at Sonoma State University; and Amy Sueyoshi, dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University. They emphasize that Pride has traditionally deployed both frivolity and protest to promote a positive cultural shift in how society views LGBTQ people. 

The exhibition is organized around four themes.

“Why Pride?” considers how organizers and community members explained the purpose of the annual gathering.

“The Work of Pride” explores the ever-increasing commitment to planning, fundraising, volunteer support and governance that the event required.

“Pride Fights” grapples with the debates over what Pride should be, who should be included, who should make the decisions and how they should be made.

Finally, “Big Gay Family” highlights how the creation of San Francisco Pride brought diverse people into a collective, yet often contested kinship. 

POSTER 1: “Christopher Street Liberation Day Gay-In,” offset flyer, 1970; Charles Thorpe Papers (1987-02), GLBT Historical Society.
POSTER 2: San Francisco Gay Pride program, 1972; Ephemera Collection, GLBT Historical Society.

The interactive final section of the show, “Pride: From Past to Future,” invites visitors to reflect on the history, then look ahead by submitting their responses to two questions: “How will the future of Pride be shaped? How should it be shaped?” The answers will be posted in the online gallery to spark an ongoing dialog about the heritage of Pride.

“Labor of Love” will also be installed as a physical exhibition at the GLBT Historical Society Museum at 4127 18th Street in San Francisco’s Castro district at a future date.

For more information, visit the GLBT Historical Society website at www.glbthistory.org.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Skin pigmentations: Types and treatment options

You should seek medical advice from experts to manage hyperpigmentation conditions. It is advisable to seek skin protective measures for a healthy and happy lifestyle.

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Skin pigmentation is a health disorder that affects the normal appearance of your skin. It is easily noticeable because of the change in color in the area with the disorder. The melanin gives your skin its color. Hyperpigmentation occurs when the color pigment cells of the melanin get damaged or when the cells are unhealthy.

In this article, we take a quick review of some of the hyperpigmentation conditions, treatment options, among other related issues.

Let’s begin…

Types of skin pigmentation

Some skin pigmentation like birthmarks act as beauty spots for some people, while for others it affects their self-esteem or poses health risks.

Birthmarks

Birthmarks are abnormal skin colorations that appear at birth or a few days after birth. Most of the birthmarks are normal while others are cancerous and may pose serious health risks for individuals.

Pigmented birthmarks

Nevus of Ota

They are gray or blue discolorations on the skin which appear on the face or in the eyes. They result from excessive production of melanin on the skin causing discoloration. Many people with the disorder are prone to conditions of skin cancer such as melanoma cancer of the eye, cancer of the central nervous system, and others. They may also cause glaucoma on the individuals.

Treatment:

You can use prescribed bleaching agents for this kind of discoloration, such as laser, hydroquinone, and others.

Hemangiomas

They are birthmarks that appear as growths on the face, arms, trunk, and legs. They are a bunch of tiny blood vessels concentrated on one spot. Some hemangiomas are easily visible on the skin, while others appear bluish since they are deep in the body. The level of severity of this condition depends on if it reduces as your child grows up. Treatment is recommendable to avoid consequential health issues such as bleeding, ulcers, and others.

Treatment:

Use of corticosteroid medication, laser treatment, surgery, use of topical or oral beta-blocker medications. You should first consult an expert on the treatment required to avoid various serious side effects of these treatment methods.

Other pigmented birthmarks include Macular stains, Port-wine stains, and others.

Skin pigmentation disorders

Albinism

Albinism results from a lack of melanin in the skin, hair, or eyes. The condition is inheritable because of the presence of a gene that prevents the production of the pigment melanin.

Treatment:

The condition has no cure. The people with the condition should use sunscreen to prevent them from skin cancer. A visit to an ophthalmologist is recommendable to avoid eye problems.

Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a condition caused by pigment loss. The body’s immune system attacks color pigment cells which cause white patches on the skin. It can cause other health issues such as anemia, diabetes, and others.

Treatment:

There is no cure, but you can get treatments such as the use of topical steroid preparations, topical immunomodulators, excimer laser, and others.

Other pigmentation disorders include; Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, Ashy dermatosis, Melasma, Lentigo Solaris, among others.

You should seek medical advice from experts to manage hyperpigmentation conditions. It is advisable to seek skin protective measures for a healthy and happy lifestyle. Hyperpigmentation may bring about other health issues, hence it is crucial to ensure that your condition gets checked by a health expert.

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