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How will Warlords affect low-level characters?

It's something that's fairly easy to forget in all the talk of item squishes and character boosts, but Warlords of Draenor is going to make a lot of significant changes to how it feels to play a low level character and level up. That's why forum threads like this one interest me so much, because it's important to get that low level balance right. Yes, we have the boost, we have things like heirlooms, but in the end the game has to function at low levels for people without them. If it doesn't or can't, then people who try the game on trial or who decide to start an alt after using the boost are going to end up feeling lost, and that's a feeling that leads to people not playing at all.

So I decided to roll a low level character and level him without heirlooms on the beta, just to try it out for myself. And so far, I feel like they've made pretty decent strides in balancing things out - I'm at level 7 now after a half hour and I could probably get to ten after another 20 minutes. I am, however, concerned with what Kalyeatrish says about the level 8-9 relative weak spot in leveling. If players can't get stuff done at those levels, it'll be a hard slog to get to 10. And most people who try out WoW don't get past 10 - that's a barrier to entry you don't want to imbalance when you make game changes.

Hopefully it's something Blizzard keeps watching, and I hope everyone in the beta manages to find time to roll a character and test it out at low levels - it may seem like a waste of time, but it's actually incredibly important for the game long term.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Warlords of Draenor

Last Week on Massively: QueueAge

This post originally appeared on Massively from Editor-in-Chief Brianna Royce. At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO story last week, you've come to the right post

Let's not sugarcoat this: A startling number of gamers are willing to wait in some ridiculously long lines to fling sand in the ArcheAge sandbox. This week, ArcheAge's launch woes were inescapable as Trion struggled to add waves of new servers and deal with the fallout of queues and character creation embargoes that have kept both paying and freemium players from logging in, let alone claiming land.

Massively's Jef Reahard chronicled his first six days in the game:
Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day one - Introduction
Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day two - Classes, skills, and combat
Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day three - PvE, quests, and story
Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day four - Trade runs, sea beasts, and pirates
Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day five - Random knowledge
Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day six - Pay-to-win and the early verdict

Read on for a look at the rest of this week's top MMO stories.

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Filed under: MMO Roundup

The WoW Insider Show tonight at 11pm EDT, live from our secret lair

Tonight we're going live at 8:00 p.m. PDT / 11:00 p.m. EDT with the WoW Insider Show. You can join us right above with the live stream or head over to our Twitch.TV page and chat with us there. If you can't make the show don't worry! It'll be posted on iTunes tomorrow, along with a full recording right here.

Remember that we need to keep the chat civil, so there are mods about to make sure everyone plays nice. Thanks for stopping by!

Filed under: WoW Insider Show

The Queue: Let's make things awkward

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

I've started far too many Queues with grumblings about Mondays, but ... let's grumble about Mondays.

Mer asked:

Have they given Mystic Birdhat on the back of my (very expensive) Grand Caravan Yak a new job yet since he won't be reforging anymore?


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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

Around Azeroth: I'm not your personal taxi

"So what happened was ... I'm out leveling and my guildmate Roowen offers to join me," writes submitter Warriormama of Equinox on Llane (US-A), who does not know that for medical personnel, the phrase 'what happened was' is an indication that the story about to be told is an utter falsehood. "Since she can fly and I cannot, she starts shuttling me around from quest to quest to make traveling go a little faster. Next thing I know, I'm stranded on a tree branch far up and looking down over Townlong Steppes as she flies away." It might be time to consider paying for gas, Warriormama.

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Filed under: Around Azeroth

Breakfast Topic: So Many Feelings

This is a spoiler free post about spoilers. And how those spoilers can make you feel. I'm warning you, even though I intend to spoil nothing at all, so you can avoid the post if you'd rather.

This has been the expansion beta test where I constantly find myself forgetting that the Horde storyline exists. I say this having played it. It's not that the orcs of Draenor aren't interesting or cool, it's that I simply just do not care because there's draenei lore to explore, draenei settlements to visit, draenei to watch being awesome in cinematics. If you watched the recent cinematics Blizzard released, you'll know what I mean. If you didn't, you'll have to take my word for it - there are some awesome draenei moments to be had. It's gotten me so pumped I resumed work on my draenei-themed transmog, which you can see above on the beta. Having watched the cinematics, I'm now incredibly ready for Warlords, but I have no idea if I'll even bother to play Horde. As cool as the Frostfire Ridge ending is, the Shadowmoon Valley one dwarfs it, and Talador? Talador actively made me upset, something that hasn't happened to me in World of Warcraft in a very long time.

This is the draenei expansion. The orcs? Well, they're here. They're villains for the most part. I'm not impressed. But the draenei? Oh yeah. Y'rel, just point the way. Let's go wreck the Iron Horde.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: The undeniable failure of Thrall

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Thrall, former Warchief of the Horde, came from a line of leaders, destined by his parentage to eventually take leadership of the Frostwolf clan -- but he ended up doing far, far more than just that. Through Thrall's efforts, the Horde was rebuilt anew into a different organization, one built not on the concept of bloody battles and victorious conquest, but instead on the ideals of freedom, liberation, unity. Family. With that goal in mind, he allowed a multitude of races to join as allies with this new Horde, establishing a home in Kalimdor.

But that Horde was not the Horde that the orc race was familiar with. It wasn't the same Horde of united clans that drank the blood of Mannoroth, ripped through the Dark Portal and stormed into Azeroth with the intent of conquering the planet. It certainly was a far, far cry from the Horde of Draenor -- the Horde from days not so long before the orcs first arrived on Azeroth, the Horde that thrived prior to Thrall's birth.

And perhaps it was that curious dichotomy between the two that led Thrall astray. Or perhaps it was simply that his parents, Durotan and Draka, were killed while he was still an infant, and he was raised in as a slave in a camp of humans that taught him human ideals, human ideas. They taught him to read, they taught him to speak, they taught him how to be. What they did not teach him was one very important thing -- how to be an orc.

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains several spoilers for Warlords of Draenor, including the cinematics that were released last week. If you are avoiding spoilers, don't click!

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

WoW Moviewatch: The Warlock: Episode 2 - LFG

I've always been one of those people that enjoys solo questing. Don't get me wrong, I also enjoy being in a guild and enjoy being social, but I just prefer to read quest text at my leisure, which isn't exactly conducive to group play. That, and I kind of like the challenge of trying to beat things solo -- sure, a quest might say it's intended for a group, but I like trying to figure out how to complete it on my own. Today's Moviewatch is the second episode in a series by Nixxiom simply called The Warlock, and it deals with one of the other sides of group questing -- a slightly more unpleasant one.

Generally speaking, if I'm out questing in the wilds of Azeroth, a random invite from a stranger isn't something I look forward to dealing with. I have to say though, after watching the second episode of this series, I'm kind of a fan of Antos, the new character and self professed best mage on Azeroth. I wasn't sure about him at first, but seven minutes in there was a moment in which I was completely, utterly sold. I don't know where this series is going to go from here, but I'm looking forward to seeing it. If you missed episode one, be sure to check that one out as well.

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

The Queue: Beard obsession

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

I don't know why exactly a good chunk of you were so completely obsessed with beards in yesterday's Queue, but okay, I'll indulge with a Cyanide & Happiness short that seems suitably appropriate for the topic at hand. Or chin, I guess.

Jorsha asked:

Q4tQ: is Coren Direbrew a whole long dungeon fight or is it just the boss fight like Headless Horseman at Hallow's End? I need Coren to finally finish off the Brewmaster achievement, but I really don't enjoy running dungeons so I've never done it. I love the H.H. fight because that's all it is.... just kill him, hope for the mount to drop (still waiting) and then move on. Cheers!

Coren is in fact just like the Headless Horseman. When you zone in, you do so right in Direbrew's room at the Grim Guzzler, and all you have to do is speak to him to start the fight. No trash, no dungeon, nothing but Direbrew and his cronies to take down. Easy enough! ... although be careful about pulling the rest of the bar while you're fighting him. It probably isn't that much of an issue these days, but I remember a few entertaining "oops" pulls when Coren was first introduced.

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Filed under: The Queue

Sunday Morning Funnies: How delightful

Teh Gladiators
Sunday Morning Funnies is your weekly list of WoW-related web comics.

This week, in comics: Everything is so orange. Socializing is the worst. One partnership is broken up, and another is formed. Plus: Richard has a diary (and a purse).

Also, Fox Rain has hit 100 pages! Congratulations, Jenn!

Several of our sporadically updating comics did not post new content this week, so we're missing WoW, eh? and Sara & Kleeyo, as well as Kibble & Bit. And, if you missed the announcement last week, From Draenor With Love is on a brief hiatus to prepare for Chapter 4 (which I'm pretty sure has a dragon).

However, The Brotherhood of Iron, Rug's new comic, which will update sporadically as well, has new content up, which includes Keran from Experience Boost. Plus, Gnomeregan Forever has posted an extra featuring a Kibble & Bit crossover! We also have content from the two new comics that joined us last week, The Warchief's Command Board and Gnomophobia, so there's plenty to read. But, if you're finding the list a bit light, why not check out the Clickware storyline on NPC? It isn't WoW-related, but I mean, Chloe encounters the clickbaitiest of ads, and it's worth the read.

Also this week, Teh Gladiators concludes, although this won't be the last time it's featured here. Next week, there should be Hearthstone-related content, and if you're curious, the text below the final comic gives some more details.

Finally, I'd like to correct a minor error I made last week. Contested Territory (not Gnomeregan Forever) switched up its line style subtly, which is getting some great feedback from readers.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Humor, Comics, Sunday Morning Funnies