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WRUP: Playing those level 100 blues

So Warlords of Draenor has been out for a week, which means many of us have started to hit level 100 and gear up for the end-game grind. Or have we? Tis the season for new game releases, and console titles like Dragon Age: Inquisition have a strong draw for WoW Insider's RPG-loving crew. But there's still plenty to do in Draenor, plus the 10th anniversary content is just getting fired up. So what's a gamer to do?

Spoiler alert: we're still (mostly) playing WoW. But to see what exactly the team is getting into in WoW (and otherwise), as well as letting us know what you're playing this weekend, read on!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Random dungeons back to personal loot, guaranteed drops

Blizzard has decided to bring back personal loot to random dungeon groups, after a very short hiatus where they set the default to need before greed. The community was pretty outspoken about this change. They liked the drama-free nature of personal loot, but many agreed that it felt bad on the rare occasion when no one received loot for the entire dungeon.

To fix this, Blizzard is changing it so that everyone gets a guaranteed drop off the last boss of a dungeon. Those who create full pre-made groups may set the loot to need before greed if desired, and doing so will guarantee that the last boss of each dungeon drops 3 items instead of 2.

Check out the full blue post after the break.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

WoW Archivist: Epics

Bulwark of Azzinoth
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

Leveling through Draenor has been a blast, but as a player from classic WoW, a few things have struck me as incredibly strange. Triple-digit numbers in the guild panel. Sending NPCs to do quests on my behalf. And most of all, getting epic armor and weapons from solo leveling quests.

Many players in classic WoW (and not just raiders) opposed making epics more available to players. They called Blizzard's evolving attitude a slippery slope. "What's next," they argued, "epics for doing solo quests?" They never actually imagined that would happen. In 2005 it would have been unthinkable. Eight years later, here we are. But it's all been by design -- an evolving design with many steps along the way. Let's look at how we got here, one random drop at a time.

The few, the proud, the epic

In early classic WoW, only one path allowed you to deck out your character in purple items: 40-player raiding. Other raiding didn't cut it. Bosses in the 15-player (later 10-player) Upper Blackrock Spire dropped rares. Even bosses in the 20-player raids, Zul'Gurub and Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj, dropped mostly rares when they first opened their instance portals. Only their end bosses consistently dropped epic loot.

Outside of 40-man raids, a handful of bosses had a very small chance to drop an epic item. Emperor Thaurissan in Blackrock Depths had a tiny chance to drop Ironfoe. The "tribute run" chest from Dire Maul very rarely offered up Treant's Bane -- and I'll never forget the joy in my warrior friend's voice when it dropped for him, all those years ago. DM was also the source of the highly coveted tanking weapon Quel'Serrar, but the quest item to obtain it had an incredibly low drop rate.

Back then, even the recipes to craft epics (such as the awesome Force Reactive Disk) could only be obtained from 40-player raids.

Even if you were raiding with 39 of your closest online friends, earning purples was no picnic. With two drops per boss at first, odds of getting an item on any given run were slim. You could complete a full clear without a single drop for your class and spec. Each epic you equipped generally represented several weeks of endgame effort. When a player sauntered through Orgrimmar or Ironforge in head-to-toe purples, players knew this was a person who had spent many, many hours on that character.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

The Queue: Looking back on 10 years of WoW

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.

Consider this one a slightly more personal Queue than most, because today's the start of WoW's 10th anniversary celebration, and that means telling a little story. That screenshot above is from just before I got my Sulfuras, which I still have - I've had it for eight years now. But I wouldn't have gotten it, or done any of the raiding I did then, or even played this game at all if not for the fact that WoW let me talk to Julian, my wife (she wasn't my wife yet then) when we were separated.

World of Warcraft was our means to stay in touch after we were parted for a while, and it became something we did together - we ran through Southshore and up to Scarlet Monastery together, back before you could just queue for dungeons, when the only way to get summoned was via a warlock. Before Blackwing Lair was even out, we ran Molten Core together. We were both guilded together, raided together, and before that we leveled together. World of Warcraft has been special for me entirely because of how it made a bad patch for the two of us better, let us share sunsets on the docks, let us camp that annoying Horde druid who kept ganking lowbies outside Southshore and just kill him until it wasn't any fun for him anymore. I proposed to Julian during a Molten Core run.

The game has been a part of our lives. It is just a game, admittedly so, but it's a game we shared, a game that we met friends in, a game we played together. A game where I was once forced to level a character entirely so I could stand in a swamp and cast Heroism so that my wife could tame a special rare pet.

It's been a heck of a decade, World of Warcraft. I might not be married if not for you. I certainly wouldn't have a job writing about you if you didn't exist. So thank you.

And now, for your questions.

Zheo asks:
QFTQ: Next expansion - Legion or something else?

I can guess if you want. I have absolutely no evidence to support this, I'm making up an answer based entirely on my personal beliefs, no one's told me anything - but I think it's pretty likely that at the end of this expansion we well and truly tick the Legion off. I would not be surprised if the next expansion was the Legion come around again.

That being said, I'd be okay with a completely different expansion. I still think a gnome themed expansion could work.

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Filed under: The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Dungeon Hotfixes, Need before Greed now default

When Warlords of Draenor launched, it brought with it a new loot system - the personal loot of Raid Finder was now in place for dungeons. There were advantages and disadvantages to this - one of the advantages was that loot didn't drop that no one wanted, for example. But a lot of players found it a less than compelling system.

And apparently their voices have been heard, because it's back, baby. Rygarius posted a host of dungeon and raid hotfixes, including but not limited to the return of Need before Greed as the default loot system in dungeons. What else is happening?
  • Completing your first Heroic Warlords dungeon nets you a reward of 50 Garrison Resources.
  • The return of the Call to Arms feature for in-demand roles like tanks and healers.
  • You will now once again be able to queue for dungeons from the Ashram cities of Stormshield and Warspear.
What do you think of these changes?

Filed under: News items, Hotfixes, Warlords of Draenor

Around Azeroth: Unfinished business

"Hey there, AA!" writes today's submitter. "It's me again, your old pal -- oh. Hmmm. Maybe I ought to keep my identity on the DL for this one. You can just call me ... Deep Gnome. You see, today's screenshots are extra secret. Really juicy. Eyes-only kind of stuff. And by "eyes-only" I guess I mean everyone's eyes, since I'm giving it to you to show everyone.

Anyway, on to the pictures. I was messing around in game and found myself seeing the future! Or rather, the past. Er ... the future of the past. Yeah. It's the unfinished Tanaan Jungle as it is in game right now! This is a screenshot of that classic fortress, Hellfire Citadel (Tanaan Citadel?) As you can see, it's partially untextured. There's little else of interest in the zone so far. There's one strange rock formation, but I didn't think it picture-worthy.

Anyway, I hope you liked this glimpse of the forbidden, but that's it for to- Oh, my God. They found me. I don't know how, but they found me. Run for it!"
[TRANSMISSION ENDED]

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. 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: Happy birthday, WoW!

Admittedly, we're sending World of Warcraft its birthday wishes a little early -- the game officially launched on November 23rd, 2004 -- but since the 10th anniversary event kicks off today, it seems fair. Ten years is a good long run for any game, but Blizzard certainly isn't calling it quits yet.

Since we're celebrating it seems like a great time to look back on our time in WoW, so today let's talk about our favorite WoW memories. How long have you been playing? What's your first memory of World of Warcraft? And will you be joining in the anniversary events to celebrate the nostalgia?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

WoW's 10th Anniversary celebration starts tomorrow

It's kind of amazing to realize that WoW turns 10 tomorrow, and we get Molten Core and Southshore vs. Tarren Mill to celebrate. The fine folks at Wowhead have a detailed guide to the anniversary for you to look over. You can get an epic ilevel 640 helm, a weapon glow effect, mounts and pets from MC, titles from the new battleground, and of course the celebration package in the mail with an item to boost your reputation gain with Warlords factions.

It's not often that an MMO gets to be this big this long. We even got to see 10 million subscriptions for the 10th anniversary. Party time!

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard on Garrison Invasions

Garrison Invasions, how do they work? Well, Blizzard decided to go ahead and explain exactly that. Some players have been confused by seeing the introductory Garrison Invasion restricted to Rank 2 of the Garrison, and thought that the Invasions had been removed from Rank 3. Not the case, says Nethaera.

Nethaera - Garrison Invasions and You
We've been seeing a lot of confusion in regard to the way Garrison Invasions work and we wanted to take some time to clear up this confusion for you.

Most players will get their first taste of what Invasions will be like when they get into Tier 2 of their Garrison. Approximately midway through Frostfire Ridge or Shadowmoon Valley, a player's Garrison will be attacked either by a Thunderlord or Shadowmoon force. The quest is just a taste of what this type of gameplay offers but it's not a full blown invasion just yet. It's a way to get your feet wet and experience just a bit of what it will be like when you reach max level. For those who move quickly into their 3rd tier before getting this event, don't worry. You haven't missed out on any special rewards. It's just a precursor to what you're going to get to experience at maximum level.

Once you reach max level, these events are triggered organically. What this means is, as you fight powerful foes among the enemy factions of Draenor (generally in and around the areas for Apexis Crystal Missions) you'll draw their attention and an enemy force will eventually prepare to attack your Garrison. When that happens, the commander outside your Town Hall will have a quest for you, allowing you to trigger the invasion.

The Nuts and Bolts:

  • Your effectiveness in defending your Garrison is measured by how many enemies you're able to defeat and how many of your guards and buildings survive the assault. (Don't worry, there's no permanent damage- they will rebuild it!)
  • You can bring up to 2 friends into your Garrison to assist in the defense. (It's like a party, but with heavily armored invaders.)
  • Based on your final score you and your allies present will earn a Bronze, Silver, and/or Gold award for your efforts – each award may only be earned once per week.


So fear not - if you upgraded your Garrison to Tier 3, you'll still get your Garrison Invasions.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, News items, Warlords of Draenor

Garrison Campaign quests unlocked


Blizzard has recently unlocked Garrison Campaign quests, so if you're level 100 you should be on the lookout for a new quest somewhere in your garrison. What are Garrison Campaigns? They're weekly quest chains that give you some cool rewards. There will also be a bonus objective you can complete while you're doing the quest for 800 Apexis Crystals (in addition to 800 from the regular daily).

What quest you get appears to be entirely random. For example, this week I had Garrison Campaign: The Ring of Blood and my warrior friend, Mr. Rossi had Garrison Campaign: Seismic Matters. My reward for completing the Ring of Blood campaign quest was a new title, "Blood Champion." The final reward from the latter quest is a mole machine outside your garrison that will transport you instantly to your outpost in Gorgrond. Other quest rewards include things like Pile of Blackfuse Shredder Scrap or Sargerei Disguise. There's also an achievement tied into completing all of them, which looks like it will take 3 months assuming you complete one of them every week.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor