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The Queue: Not cute

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.

You might think the above screenshot is incredibly cute. Aw, look at the little podlings! They've found an elekk to ride around the town. Yes, it's very adorable until you target the podlings, realize they are in fact Hungry Podlings, and then have to deal with the disquieting possibility that they are eating that elekk alive.

Podlings are gross.

Benjamin Seeberger asked:

So once I hit level 100, how much time will it reasonably take me to actually get to ilvl 615?

Not too long, all things considered! Questing in Nagrand will help considerably -- the rares out there drop some pretty high-end rewards, and quest rewards are also pretty good. You'll end up doing some dungeons as well, but with the changes to Personal Loot now guaranteeing you a piece at the end of an LFG dungeon run, you'll find yourself there in no time. You've got until January to run Molten Core, so there's really no need to worry about whether you'll be there in time. It took me a few days, but that was less because it was difficult and more because I didn't have a ton of time to run dungeons for gear right off the bat.

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: What are you doing at level 100?

I find myself in an interesting kind of conundrum with Warlords of Draenor. For the first time in five expansions, I am going through the leveling process without any real goal in mind at the end of it all. Every other expansion to date has been a rush of leveling with my friends to get to max level to begin the dungeon and heroic dungeon grind and prepare to quickly start raiding as soon as possible. However, I stepped down from raiding full time at the end of Mists of Pandaria -- I kind of needed that time for other projects, and now that I have that time, I'd like to keep it open for future work.

That's all well and good, but ... I hit level 100 the other day on my rogue, and am suddenly confronted with the question of what to do now. Gearing up seems like a good idea, except I won't be doing any really hardcore raiding this time around. Missions and squirreling away materials for work orders and managing my buildings have all been keeping me entertained. But I'm still kind of at a loss as to whether I'm, for want of a better term, "doing it right." When you're raiding, there's a pretty set structure to what happens when you hit max level, and that structure no longer applies now -- it's gone.

While it might sound like a silly problem to have, I do like knowing what I'm doing, and I don't like the odd sensation of having little to no direction what so ever. So I'll ask you guys, because I'm sure we've got the entire gamut of players reading the site -- what are you guys doing at level 100? Are you focusing on gear? Is there a particular thing you're focusing on right out the gate, like collecting stuff, clearing dungeons, finishing off achievements, grinding reputations, or something else? Do you guys have any habits you've acquired over the years, when it comes to finally hitting max level?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Molten Core LFR may test your patience, but look at this mount

WoW's 10th anniversary celebration started today, and with it came what is now my favorite mount in the game. This Core Hound one of those mounts you have to see to believe. There's something incredibly cool about stomping around on one of these bad boys, especially with my matching hunter pet and battle pet in tow. I also snagged a ilvl 640 epic helm out of it. Everyone who kills Ragnaros will be guaranteed the helm and the mount. The rest of the bosses simply drop gold for everyone (around 25g each) which should hopefully pay for the repair bill you will rack up doing this right now.

In order to queue for Molten Core LFR you must have an item level of at least 615. If you're not level 100 yet, don't fret. This event is ongoing until January 5, 2015 and I suspect many will continue to farm it for chances at Hatespark the Tiny and Flames of Ragnaros, both of which are not guaranteed drops.

I'll admit that when I first went in, I expected this to be a complete pushover. However, I forgot how hard it is to organize a group of 40 people. Almost everyone inside is just barely making the ilvl 615 requirement to boot. People are used to soloing this for transmog gear and it can result in many wipes. It took my group nearly 2 hours to clear the whole raid. My first group didn't even make it past the first boss.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

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