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Matthew Rossi

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Matthew Rossi is not a figment of your imagination. Matthew Rossi does not live in Edmonton, AB, in the cold and storied northlands of Canada. Matthew Rossi is not a large silithid. It's possible that this bio is not entirely accurate.

Breakfast Topic: Please let it never rise again

An eldritch abomination, a horror that cannot be borne. I'm talking about the Horde side Onyxia attunement quest chain. To this day I can't think of a single quest chain or attunement as bad, not even the ridiculously labyrinthine series of attunements required in The Burning Crusade, because the Horde attunement had the added difficulty of a turn-in NPC who moved around. Rexxar's daily wander up and down the road from Desolance to the top of Feralas and back made finding him for this quest absolutely nightmarish in the time before flight. All you could do was ride up and down hoping to find him, and doubly hoping a group of Alliance hadn't killed him on their way to or from something like a Dragon of Nightmare (one spawned in northern Feralas at the time). It was seriously quite insanely irritating.

So yes, it must never be brought back in any shape or form. To do so would be abominable.

What's your biggest "Let this never happen again" moment in WoW?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The World as Story: Emergent storytelling in World of Warcraft

How does storytelling function in World of Warcraft? What are its limits? Does it have to unfold solely via quest text, or can it be told via other means? I ask this in part due to a developing discussion on the scale and scope of how the world we interact with as we play reveals the story elements. Back when I first started playing WoW, game story was almost exclusively revealed via quest text. When it wasn't, it was often revealed via in-game books. I remembered being floored with the pre-fight scene between Majordomo Executus and Ragnaros because it was a bit of story happening entirely in front of my eyes via dialogue and scene.

Over the years World of Warcraft has added a host of tools to its story delivery options - cutscenes, scenarios, events like Battle for Undercity, open-ended exploration, and quest integration with each of these kinds of vectors for story. It's not all just text anymore - we have in-game cinematics, cut-scenes rendered and played through using totally in game scenes, dialogue (the end of the Isle of Thunder, when Jaina and Lor'themar confronted one another was entirely realized through in-game dialogue), scenarios like A Little Patience and Dagger in the Dark, and even more complex combinations of all of them. The Dominance Offensive/Operation Shieldwall story in particular was unveiled through all of these techniques, using every arrow in the quiver to drive the story points home.

I'm bringing this up because of the recent revelation that not all secondary objectives in Warlords of Draenor will have quest text. The discussion led to a series of tweets from Dave Kosak that I think definitely are worth discussing. How do we get story in an MMO? Can the world we encounter be the story itself? As we move through it, how can it be best presented to us?

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

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

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

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

The Unlearning game

World of Warcraft constantly changes. It changes in patches in small ways (buffs change, spell power changes making a formerly useless ability stronger, or a strong ability weaker) and it changes between expansions in much larger ways. If I still played a fury warrior today the way I would have played one back in Wrath I'd be using Whirlwind as part of my rotation.

Between player action (players roll alts, switch mains and change roles) and the game's inexorable forward progress, there are always new things to learn, which require us to unlearn what we did before. Factor in returning players who take weeks, months, even years off - I've seen a lot of Hey, I left the game in X expansion, what's different now emails in my time at WoW Insider - and you have a continuous problem for World of Warcraft in people who have, in essence, a different game in mind when they play. This issue affects gameplay in numerous ways, both for those players (and eventually, we're all those players) and for the game itself.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

"A more elegant collection game" - Watcher on transmog

Today we posted a rundown on PAX East information. and one of the pieces of information was that Diablo III's transmog system is not coming to World of Warcraft. This made me sad, of course. Today, Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas tweeted the following update on that.
Now, this doesn't tell us how they plan to make transmog more elegant. It doesn't even tell us for sure that there won't be a Diablo III style approach to it - it just tells us that it won't be in Patch 6.0, whatever it ends up being. Still, it's nice to know that it's still being worked on. The extra void storage tab is a nice feature. Until we know what it is going to be I'll just be over here staring wistfully at my complete lack of bag space.

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

Breakfast Topic: Some fights are weird

Every single time I tank the Klaxxi Paragons fight, I think to myself This is a really weird fight. Between it being a council fight with nine bosses (three active at a time) and with it completely negating AoE (every time one dies the other two that are up get healed and a third one drops in) plus the stacking buffs that make it a bad idea to leave any one of them up too long, and each one adding new mechanics that need to be dealt with, it's just a weird fight for me to wrap my head around. I can grasp some fights just fine - Spoils, Norushen for instance - that have strange mechanics. But while I can tank Paragons just fine, I don't pretend to grasp the fight as such. It's a weird fight, I don't really get it.

Any fights like that for you? Not just asking for SoO - did you find fighting Kologarn weird, back in Wrath? Was Cho'gall a mind-twister for you? What fights make you just throw up your hands and say 'whatever, let's get this over with' the way Paragons does me?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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