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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: Why can't we do that?

Why can't mages use polearms? It's a staff with a pointy end. This really shouldn't be that hard, especially for the supposedly intellectually gifted mages. Now that staves and polearms are considered the same for transmog purposes, I don't get why we don't have warlocks, mages and even priests able to use polearms, especially when druids and monks can use polearms and staves (and so can warriors, for that matter) - just make polearms and staves the same thing and save everyone some time.

Similarly, I don't get why paladins and especially DK's can't use fist weapons. I don't get why rogues can't use one two handed weapon instead of two. Conan the Cimmerian was a thief in Zamora, he even scaled the Tower of the Elephant looking to steal its riches. He used a big old axe. (Of course, he was a barbarian, maybe he didn't know he couldn't. He wore plate armor on a few occasions as well.) If hunters can tame talbuks now, why can't they tame horses? For that matter, why can they tame animal friends to go into battle with them, but can't convince any of those friends to let them ride on their backs?

Is there anything you think you should be able to do that you can't?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Queue: Suicide Mission

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.

I have to admit, I think about the suicide mission from Mass Effect 2 a lot when I go through the Dark Portal for Khadgar. I kind of wish there was a way to have an iconic in-game rendered cinematic, like the one for the Wrathgate, when you step through except instead of featuring some NPC (even an awesome pair like Bolvar and Saurfang Jr.) it featured your character giving a rousing Shepard speech, gathering up all of Azeroth's defenders (under your banner, no less) and charging through with that awesome Jack Wall music playing in the background. Sadly, since I don't think that's possible, you'll have to settle for listening to the music above and daydreaming about it.

In my version, I go paragon, just in case that matters.

alkalineheat asks:
Q4tQ: blizzard has expressed they have no plans to make 2hand maces viable agian for enhancement shamans in Wod. Exactly who are they still viable for? It seems like I havent seen many equipped or even droped in ages.

Arms and fury warriors, all DK's, retribution paladins and to a lesser extent feral and guardian druids. I used Gar'tok, Strength of the Faithful for a while even though it wasn't optimal for warriors.

Read more →

Filed under: Warrior, The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: How The New Models Got Me To Play A Nelf Again

This is one of those Breakfast Topics where I really feel like I could point to the headline, then the comment section, and then go eat a delicious whole wheat bagel while y'all had at it. But because that's shockingly selfish and lazy of me, I shall instead relate to you a story.

Back in Wrath, I started tanking for my guild again. Because we were doing heroic Anub, I decided to race change to night elf for the Quickness racial, because it made pushing unhittable to tank the adds just that little bit easier. I did this thing. And man, I hated it. Playing as a night elf meant looking goofy as heck. Luckily, we were soon in Icecrown Citadel and our tier set covered up a multitude of flaws, but I was still unhappy with the night elf dude and did not miss it when I switched to draenei for the hit.

Flash forward to now. The new night elf guy has his work in progress model. Aside from still burying his face in his shoulder like he's sobbing when he uses a 2h weapon, it's leaps and bounds improved. I like it a lot better. And so, now I'm running around the beta on a nelf. And that's my story.

And now, comment time. Have any of the new models got you to try a race you normally never would? Horde side I'm seriously contemplating a troll right about now.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The incredible aging demographic

Let me put it on the line - LFR and Flexible raid sizes are the most important raiding experiences currently available in World of Warcraft, and the upcoming Mythic 20 person raid difficulty is an atavism, barely even an appendix, that only a vanishing few players will experience when it is current. It exists for a sense of achievement and prestige that only a few players really have the time for anymore, and every year, that group of players gets smaller.

The reason for this is simple - as Tom Chilton put it, the demographic is getting older over time. People like me who played for the raid game back in classic are older. They have jobs, kids, schedules that don't permit the kind of time investment hard modes currently demand, the kind Mythic will demand. And it's not that you can't do cutting edge raiding in, say, six hours a week. I'm not arguing that you will have to put in 20 hours a week to do Mythic. I'm arguing that even scheduling one or two nights a week and being there reliably is actually really hard when you have other commitments that can often demand your time on a moment's notice - in essence. being able to go when you want/need to raid instead of when the group is scheduled to go is a huge boon to that aging demographic. For all the elitism, all the sneering, and all the slurs directed at the LFR player base, the feature allows people who love raiding but who can no longer commit to scheduled WoW play a place to do it.

You can ask if this is healthy for the game as a whole - whether or not your answer is yes or no, though, there is no escaping this simple fact. WoW is a decade old. Many of us playing it have been here for years now. Even players who started in Wrath or Cataclysm have now been playing for years. This is an aging game with aging players, this is the reality of the situation. And this means that more adaptive raiding solutions are going to keep presenting themselves.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor Beta: Patch notes for August 27th

They're here, and they're mostly a tuning pass.

The latest patch notes for the Warlords of Draenor beta are much less about sudden, massive changes and much more about getting damage and healing output where it needs to be for the live release of the game. So what are we looking at?
  • The pandaren racial Epicurean now increases the effect of buff food by 75%, down from 100%.
  • Typhoon's range was decreased to 15 yards, down from 30 yards.
  • Pretty much every single class saw some damage adjusted up or down.
We definitely seem to be heading towards release at the pace you'd expect for a November release of the expansion. Head on over to the official site for more details.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Where to next?

Okay, now that we know that Blizzard is already designing zones for the next expansion, my question becomes this - where is it set? Where are we going? Back to some lost continent on Azeroth? The Emerald Dream? The Dark Below? (I never get tired of that one.) Argus or Xoroth or some other world entirely? The Azeroth that would result if the Horde didn't invade it thirty-five years ago, so we can see all those cool Alliance heroes like Lothar and Turalyon and Alleria? Sanctuary? (Seriously when is the Warcraft/Diablo crossover going to happen already?) Are we going to actually go to Nexus, the setting of Heroes of the Storm? Probably not. But where are we going?

Well, of course none of us know. But we can speculate. Where do you think we're going next?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Tom Chilton: Blizzard had hoped to have Warlords out a couple of months ago

In a recent interview with Icy Veins, Tom Chilton talked about Warlords of Draenor and one of the things he mentioned that struck me immediately was that Blizzard was hoping to have Warlords out by now. Specifically, a few months ago.
We did a good job earlier in Mists of Pandaria, having the content come at a more frequent intervals, and certainly we had hoped to have Warlords of Draenor out a couple of months ago. The reality is that scaling up the number of people that we have, to work on multiple projects at once has slowed us down. Honestly, it should have not come as a surprise to us. We increased the size of the team by 50% and the majority of those people had never worked on World of Warcraft before or any other MMO, so it is really difficult for them to create content right away, without getting up to speed.
This echoes what other developers have said in interviews and it interests me because one of the things we've bemoaned is the huge drought in content between the end of Siege of Orgrimmar and now - if they'd intended to have Warlords out in June, that would have been a fairly reasonable amount of time for a new expansion, really. (September to June is 10 months, long, but much more reasonable) and the idea that just throwing people at development doesn't immediately bring more content because they have to learn what they're doing makes sense.

I still feel like it's been a heck of a dry spell, all things considered. I really would like to see the alternate timeline where Warlords released in June.

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

Know Your Lore: Alliances

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.

Unlike the Horde (as we discussed last week) there have really only been two Alliances. There was the Alliance of Lordaeron, formed by the human kingdoms of the northern parts of the Eastern Kingdoms, the Wildhammer dwarves and the refugees of Stormwind (and later joined by the dwarves of Khaz Modan, gnomes of Gnomeregan and the high elves of Silvermoon) - this Alliance ultimately died many small deaths as members left. Gilneas over the establishment of internment camps for orcs rather than simply exterminating them and the expense of maintaining Nethergarde Keep, Stromgarde over Thoras Trollbane's argument with Terenas Menethil over Trollbane's wish to simply execute all orc prisoners outright. The high elves of Quel'thalas left as soon as they reasonably could after the death of Anduin Lothar, since they originally only joined the Alliance due to an ancient oath to the Arathor bloodline, of which Anduin Lothar as the sole survivor.

It was the rise and fall of this Alliance, which came together fitfully, was nearly destroyed by betrayal, and ultimately died not from defections or secession but by the hand of the man born to rule one of its kingdoms that created its successor. To understand the Alliance of Lordaeron, we must understand the First and Second Wars.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore

The Queue: Tragedy

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.

When you lose control and you got no soul
It's tragedy
When the morning cries and you don't know why
It's hard to bear

Anyway, let's answer some questions in this there Queue. What's that? There are no questions, just people talking about their favorite fantasy novels or movies or games?

Tragedy.

Bhuta asks:
QfQ: With the hybrid "gear tax" disappearing in WoD... what incentive is there to roll a pure dps class? I mean, I've mained a lock since BC... but considering I can do roughly the same work in WoD and be able to not only DPS, but also heal (with a priest)... it's hard for me to justify sticking with it. I mean, sure there's nostalgia... but beyond that... the optional utility is hard to pass up. What are you thoughts?

Do you want to heal?

Every single time I've been in a guild, I've always ended up tanking, even when I joined as pure DPS, because warriors can tank and DPS. Druids and monks can tank, DPS and heal - guess which roles are the most represented for them? (Hint - it's not their DPS specs.) If you want to tank or heal, then by all means, play a hybrid capable of filling those roles.

If you want to be sure that, when you join a guild, you won't ever be asked to tank and/or heal, roll a pure DPS. What you call optional I call eventually mandatory. The longer you play a class that can do a role other than DPS, the higher the likelihood that you will be asked to do it. If that's what you're looking for, by all means, play a hybrid. If you want to be a shadow priest and nothing but a shadow priest, you are in for a lot of cajoling.

And if you're just a solo player or a five man player of a PvPer, then I think warlock is a very attractive option.

Read more →

Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: Six expansions?

I mean, I like planning ahead as much as the next guy, but six expansions? I read that and I actually had to sit down and think about what that means. They're already working on zones for the expansion after Warlords. Does that mean we'll get an announcement at BlizzCon? Does that mean we'll see those zones? How long of an expansion will Warlords actually be - will it be a year and then on to the next one? And then the one after that? Will we level up 5, 10, more or less between expansions? That could put us at level 160 and the year 2020, if all six take a year between releases. What would we even be doing at level 160?

I can't be the only guy scratching his head at the idea of six expansions being in the conceptual pipeline, can I? It just blows my mind. What're your thoughts, gentle readers?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics