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Alex Ziebart

Milwaukee, WI - http://www.alexziebart.com/

When not writing for WoW.com or his personal projects, Alex is most often found playing WoW Alliance-side on the Cenarion Circle server.

Last Week on Massively: Crime and punishment in Elder Scrolls Online

ESO
This post originally appeared on Massively from Editor-in-Chief Brianna Royce. At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO story last week, you've come to the right post.

The Elder Scrolls Online enjoyed another big reveal week, this time from its throne at QuakeCon, as it launched on Steam and announced new zones as well as a new system for active world PvP and criminal justice that embraces players' compulsive kleptomania. Massively ESO expert Jef Reahard examined some of the proposed updates in his Tamriel Infinium column.

Read on for a look at the rest of this week's top MMO stories.

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Filed under: MMO Roundup

The Queue: Betas, Tanaan Jungle, and more

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

Look at that crystal. That's a nice crystal.

DanielHudson asked:

Got into the beta last week, and was amused when the in game text popped up "awesome in game cinematic" was less amused when I didn't get to see the cinematic. Is this typical during betas?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

Breakfast Topic: Has Ashran caught your interest?

Ashran, Warlords of Draenor's world PVP zone, has been hyped as one of the most exciting locations in the expansion. While the zone only opened up for play on the beta last night, it's been clear throughout development that many lessons from the game's past have been taken to heart in its creation. The devs have cited pulling not only from prior PVP areas such as Halaa and Wintergrasp, but also the Timeless Isle, which contained a potpourri of activities across the spectrum of gameplay styles.

Are you interested, though? Despite the great efforts put into the zone, I feel as if it's still only going to interest players who have primarily been PVPing all along. Faction-hubs-in-Ashran aside, I'm not sure that's necessarily a problem. I can hardly fault PVPers for getting new content when every other zone on Draenor is clearly dedicated to PVE. As someone who doesn't PVP at all, I have to see more Ashran before I can say with confidence whether or not I'll play there when the game goes live, but I imagine my participating will be much like Wintergrasp and Tol Barad. That is, I'll participate a handful of times, remember why I don't PVP, and never return.

Even the faction hubs being on Ashran may not be compelling enough to take me back there on a regular basis. I didn't like the Shrines in Mists of Pandaria very much. My hearthstone remained in Stormwind for the entire expansion. I just might be in Stormwind for another one.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

WoW Moviewatch: Pointless Top 10: Fishing pools in World of Warcraft

Wowcrendor's latest Pointless Top 10 highlights the shocking (lack of) diversity in World of Warcraft's fishing pools. Frankly, there isn't much to say -- Crendor's trademark brand of humor does all of the heavy lifting. Personally, in just waiting for the day we can post Top 10 Pointless Top 10 Lists. This is number seven from Crendor, so only three more to go. Don't let me down, man.

Filed under: Machinima, WoW Moviewatch

Loatheb revealed for Hearthstone's Curse of Naxxramas

Another new card from Hearthstone's Curse of Naxxramas set was revealed this afternoon: Loatheb. Loatheb is a legendary with one heck of a Battlecry. On the turn after Loatheb has been played, enemy spells cost 5 more mana. Any spell-heavy deck will be crippled for at least one turn, including the ever-infuriating Miracle Rogue.

Loatheb's 5/5 stat spread falls right into the standard range for a 5 mana minion. However, combined with its Battlecry, many players are already shouting overpowered. They may not be entirely wrong; 5 mana for a minion that can briefly cripple an entire deck and is quite beefy through raw stats alone is a huge threat. Loatheb may go down the same road Sylvanas did. Sylvanas was also once a 5/5 for 5 mana, but her cost was later changed to 6 mana to better reflect the actual threat she posed.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Warlords of Draenor: New arakkoa models

Last night's beta build included new models for Draenor's arakkoa. I, for one, was rather surprised by their new look. The arakkoa we know from Outland were broad, hunch-backed creatures incapable of flight. Draenor's arakkoa maintain their form from before an apparent fall from grace -- they're tall, thin, and maintain their wings. While their Outland counterpart looked like creepy little warlocks, the Draenor arakkoa resemble harpies that have slid a few notches further down the bestial spectrum.

Interestingly, the new arakkoa models include both male and female versions. The female version can be seen in the video above, and many variants of the male model can be seen on MMO-Champion. Blizzard rarely models both genders for NPC races, unless that race is distinctly humanesque -- the vrykul, for example.

While I miss the creepy little arakkoa from Outland, their Draenor forms are pretty cool, too.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Ashran preview

The zone preview train keeps chugging along. First we had Talador, Gorgrond followed, and now we're given a look at Ashran.

Built upon the remnants of an ogre civilization, Ashran looks deceptively like a nice enough island just off the coast of Tanaan Jungle. And it probably would be a lovely place to visit if not for the never-ending tug-of-war between the Horde and Alliance taking place in the central region of the zone. Then again, this might just be just your kind of excursion.

In Ashran, the Horde and the Alliance continue their long tradition of ruining everything they touch. Though home to the new faction hubs, Ashran is primarily a PVP zone with "world PVP" in mind -- though it maintains the essential elements of a battleground. Objectives are based around a tug-of-war, though it involves pushing rather than pulling. Each faction pushes down a lane toward the opposing faction's base, capturing points along the way. A powerful Ogre King awaits players at the central hub, aiding whichever faction can prove their might. A faction with dwindling resources will spawn NPC captains to aid them, some of which are named for known PVP personalities in the community.

Beyond the battleground elements, Ashran also has several other points of interest that will aid their faction's efforts and provide currently unspecified rewards. The zone preview also explains there are numerous personal goals littered throughout the island, encouraging players to venture out and find them -- luring more players into potential PVP conflict.

Head over to Battle.net for the full details.


Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Gorgrond and Talador coming soon to Warlords beta

World of Warcraft Creative Director Alex Afrasiabi confirmed today on Twitter that Gorgrond and Talador are "on deck" with the Spires of Arak and Nagrand close behind. Currently, only the Tanaan Jungle introductory sequence, Frostfire Ridge, and Shadowmoon Valley are available for testing. Whether or not "on deck" means in the next build, we aren't sure, but we do hope it will be soon.

From what we know of these zones, the Blade's Edge Mountains of Outland were formed when Gorgrond and Frostfire Ridge collided in the shattering of Draenor. Early release screenshots, as seen above, also suggest that part of what became Outland's Zangarmarsh is on the outskirts of Gorgrond. Talador is a central zone in Draenor and is known to us as Outland's Terokkar Forest. Talador includes Shattrath and Auchindoun. We suspect we can expect a distinct orcish flavor in Gorgrond and Draenic in Talador.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Last Week on Massively: ESO's slash-and-burn update

ESO
This post originally appeared on Massively from Editor-in-Chief Brianna Royce. At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO story last week, you've come to the right post.

This week, The Elder Scrolls Online team revealed plans for its third major patch; due in August, the update will include the first part of a slash-and-burn overhaul of the unpopular veteran ranks system. Meanwhile, Massively ESO columnist Jef Reahard opined on why immersion is so important for ZeniMax's MMO.

Read on for a look at the rest of this week's top MMO stories.

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Filed under: MMO Roundup

The Queue: Orc rainbow

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

Monday! My favorite!

zubbiefish asked:

When, typically, do addons become usable in the beta? It's still very early yet, but I find myself missing some of my favourites. Opie comes to mind.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue