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Shadowmoon Valley behind the scenes

If you guys have noticed, we like to feature the various throwback thursdays that developers have posted to twitter. Today we have another doozy from Cory Stockton. Previously he's shared really awesome looks back at places like Dalaran, today he gives us this look at Shadowmoon Valley in its conceptual stage. Looking it over you can see that things are still in the 'generic name' version, for instance 'Dwarf' and 'Broken Draenei Village' instead of names yet, but most of what we recognize as the Shadowmoon Valley of The Burning Crusade is on there. Considering we're going to be getting a look at an entirely new SMV as an Alliance starting zone, I find this look back very interesting.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, The Burning Crusade

Blizzard unveils the Battle.net gift card


Blizzard has announced an EU Battle.net gift card program. These gift cards, which come in the amount of €20, are available throughout many popular retailers around Europe. Upon using the gift card, the user's Battle.net balance goes up and they can purchase what they want.

This isn't a bad thing, especially for things Christmas gifts (/cough mom, if you ever read this). Individual items are still giftable via Battle.net as well, that has not gone away.

Again, this is for the EU only. The US version, we have to assume, is coming soon™.

Filed under: News items

The Queue: I really have no idea what this means

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.

Look, blame Scott Leyes. All I know is, with Azeroth Choppers debuting yesterday, I couldn't in good conscience not feature this today. Samwise Didier absolutely is so fluffy, we just have to accept it. He is the fluffiest. His beard is a thing of wonder.

Okay, let's get started on the over 800 comments in yesterday's Queue. That sound? The one that sounds like me sobbing? That's me sobbing.

Kameron Hoffs asks:

What changes are needed for Warriors in WoD?

I'm not quite arrogant enough to think I am in possession of all the answers in terms of warrior design for Warlords. I know what I would like to see, but I'm hardly unbiased - I identify with warriors to closely to even pretend that I'm not invested in the outcome here. That said, there are a few things I think we haven't heard much about yet, and which I think need to be absolutely there in the future.
  1. Headlong Rush needs to actually work and make warriors like haste at least a little bit. Especially when it comes to protection, a spec that currently gets absolutely nothing from haste.
  2. If not Titan's Grip for protection (letting us use 2h weapons and shields) then it's long past time for Blizzard to design 1h spears. Yes, this isn't just a warrior deal, but it's important.
  3. Warriors have lost a lot of flavor. We're losing two of our three banners (the only really unique thing we got in Mists of Pandaria) and a host of other abilities. I get that we needed to lose them for ability purge sake, but we're losing things like Sunder Armor, Cleave, Berserker Stance and in general we're suffering from a lack of coolness factor. It's time for something iconic and viscerally awesome to be added to the warrior toolbox.
  4. We need to hear some details about how rage is going to work. I can't really speculate more on this one until we hear some details, but we just lost any way to get rage from damage taken, a way to generate rage on demand, and a way to get enraged on demand. Are we just expected to Charge and use our rage generation attacks and that's it for rage? Is haste expected to fill the gap? It's time for this design to be explained to us.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Around Azeroth: Little luxuries

"For all the complaining and griping and moaning that those goblins and gnomes do on the speed barge in Thousand Needles, their racing operation getting blown to smithereens doesn't seem to have affected their class of living much," writes submitter Arugadh of The Brotherhood of Iron on Wyrmrest Accord (US-A). "I mean, even as the barge was getting attacked by pirates, this goblin put on a show of cowering in the corner as the flames raged outside. But he still had a nice, hot, comfortable bath drawn, complete with pillows and herbal soaps."

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: The best reroll possible

So I've been asked a few times lately what I would reroll to, if I was going to reroll. For me, the problem is simple. I like the following aspects of the game a lot:
  • Two handed weapons
  • Plate armor
  • Not healing
This really only leaves me with one option - if I'm not going to play a warrior, I'm basically going to play a death knight. If I could live with a best 2 out of 3 scenario, I could maybe convince myself to play my paladin again, but I might as well be honest and admit I really hate paladins. I've just always hated the way the class works in WoW. I hate the aesthetic of their spells, I hate their various tier sets, I just really don't like the class. I'd sooner play an enhancement shaman and settle for dual fist weapons than go pally. So for me, DK is basically the only other class option that has most of what I like, even if I would have to then live with their tendency to be the gaming equivalent of a Kreator album cover.

Heck, who am I kidding, that's a plus for me.

It's not likely to happen, but it got me wondering - if your favorite class became unplayable to you, what would you switch to? What's your best possible reroll?

Hearthstone Fireside Gatherings are coming to a town near you

If you're looking to get your Hearthstone game on, why not at a Fireside Gathering? Blizzard is planning the first of these Hearthstone meetups on April 26th, and invites you to attend or host your own local gathering. Anyone can host a Fireside Gathering in a public space with internet access, though you're on your own for finding a suitable venue. If you're interested in attending, but not organizing, just head over to the Fireside Gathering page and scroll to the bottom for a list of upcoming gatherings.

Though the video makes these gatherings look friendly, we have to worry about the danger of all-out brawls erupting when the first mage breaks out a pyroblast. Attendees will get a unique Hearthstone card back for their trouble -- just be prepared to dodge if things get out of hand.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Warlords of Draenor: Wowhead digs up Garrison models and more

As a new alpha build hit servers last night, the datamining began again. Wowhead has already turned up a plethora of new models, weapons and more, and has now turned to one of the most hotly anticipated features of Warlords of Draenor, Garrisons.

They've put together a detailed list of 70 buildings, along with what exactly all of them do, and what size plot they go on. There's a lot of interesting information one can glean from this data, such as how follower gearing might work and what mission rewards might be, as well as how you get various vendors into your Garrison. Of course, this is datamining, so shouldn't be taken as 100% fact, but it's still really interesting stuff.

There's also information showing off small images of the Garrison buildings, and a map. It seems like these may be UI elements that allow you to design your Garrison and set up its layout, but of course, this is just inference from the data that's presented. There is, however, even more information on each building type, that ties in with the aforementioned list. We're slowly getting an idea of what the Garrison progression might look like.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

War Crimes novel release date details

So if you're wondering when War Crimes (the upcoming Christie Golden novel about post-Siege of Orgrimmar Garrosh Hellscream and his trial) will be released, we have the details straight from author Christie Golden's Twitter account.
So not only do you know that the book will be released on May 6th, but if you just can't wait that long, you can go to Denver to the StarFest convention and snag a copy there three days early. I'm not saying you have to do this, nor am I saying to get me a copy while you're there, but I wouldn't mind it, either.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Lore, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords, models, and performance

We all know that Warlords of Draenor is bringing a much-desired and long-awaited feature in new character models, and understandably, there's concern about the impact on PC performance. WoW Insider reported on EU Community Manager Taepsilum's post on the forums, which has since been updated to indicate that there is no requirement to run the game on Low settings to use the old models. Instead, the toggle which has been seen in the Alpha is set to remain.

Taepsilum's assertions that you won't need a new computer are, perhaps, bold. Gamespot has picked up on them for an article, and asserts that you "probably" won't need a new machine. This is accurate, with the key word being "probably". If you're currently only able to run the game at 8FPS on Low settings, it's pretty likely that Warlords of Draenor will push your system over the edge.

Let's be realistic here. World of Warcraft has pretty amazing performance on older machines. A little while ago I asked on Twitter about players running it on low-spec systems, and it will let you run the game on some pretty archaic specs. Performance is about what you can do with the game, and is subjective. I'm happy with the graphical quality I get out of WoW on my machine, but to friends with higher level systems, it looks awful.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

I haven't touched my boosted character


I went and pre-ordered Warlords of Draenor along with everyone else a couple months ago (well, most everyone else, it seems like). I'd been thinking about which character I wanted to boost up to 90 and get maxed professions with for a while, and after a fair amount of time I took the jump and maxed out my rogue.

After the boost I played around on it a little bit. Did some timeless isle, ran some troll raids, and that was that. She just sits there now, not moving, not doing anything in particular. I've parked her next to a pet trainer. Occasionally I'll log on to her and battle the trainer whenever I remember to -- so that's a nice thing, I guess.

But you know what? For me the character became pointless, just a thing sitting there that doesn't get any attention or play time. I might as well have left her at 61, forever toiling around Mount Hyjal

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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