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Know Your Lore: Look back in Draenei

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.

The draenei have a lot of unresolved issues.

For starters, they're stranded on a strange planet called Azeroth, after having just barely escaped Outland. They lived on Outland (back when it was called Draenor) for a few hundred years, time enough to start thinking of the place as home. Then it was taken from them, and their people nearly totally exterminated. Their escape to Azeroth was an accident, crashing here because their ship was sabotaged by blood elf servants of Kael'thas Sunstrider.

So let's look over things. In the past few decades the draenei have seen formerly amicable neighbors turn bloodthirsty, demon-addicted monsters. They endured the near-total extinction of their people, hiding in swamps and bedraggled refugee settlements, seeing many of the survivors mutate and lose their connection with the Holy Light. They saw roads made out of the bones of their people. They only escaped by stealing back a dimensional ship from people they'd never really seen or heard of who still helped try and kill them. And as soon as they arrived on this new planet they found out that the Burning Legion (the very same force that is trying to exterminate them) has already been here.

This is a condensed list, of course.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Hearthstone officially launches in US app stores

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is now available to download in the US for iPad. The fast-paced card game was released earlier this month in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, but players looking for it in the US had to wait. The wait is over, and you can get your copy of the game for absolutely free and level up while waiting for Curse of Naxxramas, the new adventure-mode expansion for the game that's set to release this summer. Android and Windows tablet users, never fear -- a version of the game for those platforms should be coming out some time later this year.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Legendary East strikes deal over Warcraft film distribution

Tauren and night elf
You're probably familiar with the Burbank-based company Legendary Entertainment, at least because they're the powerhouse behind the "Warcraft" film. Their affiliate, Legendary East, has recently announced that the largest film distributor in China, China Film Co., has made an eight-figure investment in two of Legendary's upcoming films--"Seventh Son" and, you guessed it, "Warcraft." If either film gets released in China, China Film Co. will be the one to distribute it.

This is an interesting development because until 2012 China capped the number of foreign films allowed into the country every year at 20. The current limit is 34. It does make sense that Chinese film distributors would be very interested in having the Warcraft movie be one of those 34 allowed films, because World of Warcraft is hugely popular in China. Legendary Entertainment currently lists the Warcraft movie as being scheduled for release on March 11th, 2016.

Filed under: News items, Warcraft Movie

The Queue: Sometimes I use music to wake up


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.

Sometimes you wake up and you need to get your brain moving immediately. This has been one of those days.

This is the Queue. I'm filling in. Let's answer some questions.

rovingbandit211 said:

So everything the Blizz Devs have been saying about the Garrisons being an integral and mandatory part of questing and game play is actually wrong? This will be interesting. I bet you another hat you are wrong here Holisky.

Well, I'm no Holisky, but I have these tweets from Jeremy Feasel (@Muffinus) to back up that you can entirely skip the Garrisons while leveling if you want to and still go back and get the rewards. Without actually seeing how they will be integrated, we just have to wait and see. But there's evidence that, while they're certainly more integrated than the farm was, they're not 'mandatory'. I'm aware that saying this doesn't mean they're not mandatory or integrated for questing - Scott Andrews went to PAX East and got a lot of insight about them, and it seems like they will certainly be involved in how we quest. We'll find out. Since I have never made any promises to eat anything for you, I come out ahead either way.

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Filed under: The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Muffinus serves up Garrison details

Senior Game Designer Jeremy Feasel (he has an NPC named after him, the ultimate honor) has been answering questions on twitter about garrisons. Quite a few, in fact. Under his twitter handle of @Muffinus he dished out some pretty interesting details on what the current design for the feature is.
  • Garrisons are going to give you perks outside of them (we already knew about the faster mount speed perk, but others are being worked on).
  • Some perks, like a free resurrection, will not carry over into raids so as to keep them from becoming mandatory perks everyone has to get for their garrison. They want to keep customization as a draw and let players pick the perks they want.
  • You aren't hard gated by the initial quest that establishes the garrison - you can pursue the benefits and perks of the feature even if you decide to bypass it when leveling.
  • You will not have to stop doing something to run back and defend your garrison if/when it comes under attack. It's not a time-limited mechanic.
I'm pretty excited about garrisons, as they combine elements of player housing, RTS elements from the old Warcraft games, and new kinds of minigames. Should be interesting to get to see them in action.

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

Breakfast Topic: Do you play betas?

Though there's always a lot of excitement when a new Blizzard game goes into alpha or beta testing stages -- both Heroes of the Storm and Warlords of Draenor are currently in an early alpha stage -- actually playing games at this point is sometimes less than fun. Alpha and beta games are meant for testing, which means they're full of bugs and prone to changes. But the worst of it, for me, is the fact that none of my character progress is kept -- anything I do in an alpha or beta version I'll have to do again later when the final game goes live.

It's completely understandable that Blizzard -- and other game developers -- need to wipe progress made while the game was still being tested, but for me it kills a lot of the fun because on launch day the starting content is already becoming a repetitive grind. The end result is that while I enjoy reading early news about betas, I don't tend to play them for fun. But what about you, readers? Are you already looking forward jumping into the Heroes or Warlords betas -- or would you rather wait for the finished product?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Heroes of the Storm technical alpha patch notes

Heroes of the Storm's technical alpha has been down for extended maintenance today for its first significant patch since the alpha began. The patch notes have been released and include some much-needed balance changes. There have also been changes made to the questing system. This note stands out above the others:

Quests can now only be completed in Versus mode.

As someone who has spent a great deal of time playing the cooperative game mode, I appreciated that Heroes of the Storm treated that game mode as a valid choice. The MOBA genre is all about competitive PVP, so it's understandable that Heroes of the Storm would like to promote that aspect of the game, but the support for cooperative (PVE) play was a breath of fresh air. Personally, I wouldn't consider reducing the viability of playing Heroes of the Storm as a cooperative game a good thing.

You can find the full patch notes below.

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Filed under: Heroes of the Storm

WoW Moviewatch: The Warcosmos with Veal TheGrass Byson

Movie time! Today, we have The Warcosmos with Veal TheGrass Byson, by Wowcrendor. Clearly based off of the recent relaunch of Cosmos, Crendor takes this opportunity to look at aspects of the World of Warcraft that we've all gotten used to over the years but which are somewhat baffling if you ever stop and think about them. I particulary liked the bit about fire, myself, because I've been wondering that myself for quite some time.
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 moviewatch@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

Warlords of Draenor Screenshot of the Day gallery

Yes, it was a Cataclysm feature that continued in Mists of Pandaria's development process, and now it's back again for the ramp up to Warlords of Draenor -- the official Screenshot of the Day. We're actually up to five of them so far but the above scene from the steps of the Temple of Karabor is my favorite. Still, this picture from Frostfire Ridge (I presume) definitely interests me as well. Looking forward to combing over the pictures obsessively for the next few months.

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

Old models to remain available at low graphics

Over on the EU forums is an ongoing discussion of a type that usually comes about every expansion cycle: the question of whether or not your computer will need upgrades in order to run the new content. The short answer from CM Taepsilum is that, if you're happy with your computer's current performance in WoW, you're probably fine for Warlords of Draenor. So there's the answer to that.

However, fleetingly mentioned at the beginning of the post is the following interesting tidbit:
Taepsilum
Quote: Maideen

Since we are being blessed with new character models (Which can be disabled? Yes, no?)
Yes, if you set your graphics quality to Low.

This isn't something that's been explicitly clarified before now. There's been some talk that there would be a way to switch between the old and new models but we hadn't heard exactly how that would be done. It seems we now know: just set your graphics to "low" and it will enable the old player character models. If you've been nervous that your beloved main of many years might be changing irreversibly, hopefully this allows you to breathe a little easier. There'll be a way back!

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

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