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Alex Ziebart

Milwaukee, WI -

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

Patch 6.1: The heirloom tab and how it works

As we've mentioned previously, the heirloom collection UI (or "heirloom tab") is now live on the PTR. The UI resembles the Toy Box and functions in much the same way: if you have an heirloom item on your account, it will be automatically added to your collection. Unlike toys, mounts, and pets, when you acquire a new heirloom, it will be added directly into your collection with no need to "learn" the item. When you want to equip one of your heirlooms, you click on the item in your collection and the game creates a duplicate of that item in your bags. If you want to get rid of it, you simply throw that item away like a piece of old paper. If you wanted to, you could fill your entire inventory with Bloodied Arcanite Reapers. I don't know why you'd want to do that, but with the new heirloom system, you could.

The system for upgrading those heirlooms doesn't seem to be fully implemented in the current PTR build. While we know heirlooms will be able to be upgraded all the way to level 100, the items for doing so are not currently available on the heirloom vendors. The vendors, Krom Stoutarm for the Alliance and Estelle Gendry for the Horde, sell a variety of heirlooms and the level 90 upgrade items: Ancient Heirloom Armor Casing and Ancient Heirloom Scabbard. The Scabbards don't seem to work at all right now and the Armor Casings don't bring an heirloom up to level 90 as described -- it brings them up to level 85.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Last Week on Massively: 2015 is a big year for The Elder Scrolls Online

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 this week announced more changes for its endgame veteran ranks system against a backdrop of fairly credible rumors concerning its console launch date and future business model.

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: Followers, transmog, and gross items

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.

I managed to lose a day this week and thought today was Tuesday rather than Wednesday. For that reason, The Queue is a little late today. I hope you'll all forgive me.

Snichy asked:

Does getting a follower to "epic" quality have any benefits over them being the same iLevel but blue?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

Hotfixes for January 13

After today's long maintenance, another list of hotfixes has been revealed. Some highlights today include:
  • Blackrock Caverns: Rom'ogg Bonecrusher's Skullcracker ability should now correctly deal damage to Angered Earth elementals, allowing the achievement Crushing Bones and Cracking Skulls to be completed.
  • Arathi Basin: Players should now always have a fixed 25-second resurrection timer while in a Rated Battleground match.
  • Many garrison items, such as Salvage Crates, now stack to 20
The full list of hotfixes can be found below.

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Filed under: Hotfixes

Breakfast Topic: Dungeons in Warlords of Draenor

Straight to the point: how do you feel about dungeons in Warlords of Draenor? Personally, I think they're solid bits of content -- most of the dungeons are fun, and in a video game, that's praise enough. My only exception to that is Grimrail Depot. I expected the zone to evoke the feeling of a wild west train heist more than it does, which might simply be due to the type of game it is. World of Warcraft won't ever feel the same as, for example, Call of Juarez Gunslinger. The dungeon never feels like you're anywhere but in the stationary depot portion of the dungeon until you fight Nitrogg Thundertower and the trials and tribulations of pickup groups through the dungeon finder saps some of the magic from that particular encounter. Beyond Grimrail Depot, though, I adore Warlords dungeons.

Unfortunately, I haven't been running them very much because they simply don't feel rewarding. The massive item pools means you have a hard time getting items you actually want. And now that LFR is open, you can get better gear more easily and nearly bunny hop heroic dungeons in their entirety. I'd like to see dungeons become more rewarding in this expansion. If not the loot inside of the dungeons, then perhaps giving you a shot at LFR-quality loot from a bag at the end of a dungeon each day. LFR loot is already so ubiquitous it feels like a why not? situation.

I also wonder if simply pulling the daily objective out of the dungeon finder pane and onto a daily questgiver in my garrison might make me feel differently. There's a lot of simple psychology at play in games -- seeing a blue exclamation mark right in my face might compel me to complete it and I'll probably have a good time doing it. Tucked away in the dungeon finder, I will never see it and never remember to queue for a dungeon from which I don't need loot, even if I'll have fun.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Queue: A barn full of cash

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.

I have a mighty long response to today's first question!

Morte asked:

You say "there are more than enough ways to make gold", could you give us a few ideas? I'm having a tough time keeping enough gold on my alts with all the garrison building expences.

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Filed under: The Queue

Haunted Memento nerfed for server stability

Back in patch 6.0, the plague event drop Haunted Memento was nerfed to provide a random, 15-second haunting, rather than provide a constant ghastly companion. Many who owned the item didn't notice the change ... but those who did notice weren't too happy. The item, no longer able to be acquired, was something special. Why the change? Community managed Bashiok shed some light on the subject:

Patch 6.0 and the change to Haunted Memento
It was the #1 source of creature spawns within the game, which was causing server performance degradation, and during launch we changed its behavior as one of many tweaks to help recoup some server headroom. Due to the ongoing demand on the game service (and likelihood of similar demands in future expansion launches) we're not currently planning to revert it to its old behavior.

The Haunted Memento being the #1 source of creature spawns is somewhat fascinating -- given the (perceived?) rarity of the item, we were surprised by that spawnrate. Even with the creature respawning every time a player zoned or took a flight point, we wouldn't have expected it to be so significant. The nerf to the item is unfortunate -- especially given reports that the ghost's spawn buff can break players out of stealth -- but it seems necessary given this information. However, if the item does break stealth, hopefully that's a bug that can be fixed.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Hotfixes for January 8

Another day, another batch of hotfixes. Today's round includes various bug fixes and balance changes, but the big highlight might be an additional change to trapping mobs for the Barn. In addition to the previously announced hotfixes, the following has been added:
  • Requires a realm restart] Increased the spawn rate and number of spawn points for Direfang Alpha, Ironhide Bull, and Wetland Trampler. This hotfix will be deployed in combination with the hotfix from January 7 to increase spawn rates slightly.
You can find the full list of today's hotfixes below.

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Filed under: Hotfixes

Don't forget your garrison tannery's tents

In my adventures throughout Draenor, I've discovered many are unaware of the tents provided by a garrison's Tannery -- even players with Leatherworking as their primary profession. If you assign a follower to your Tannery, they can craft a myriad of single use tents for the low price of 5 Raw Beast Hides. When the tent is placed, players can stand inside of it for 10 seconds to receive a 10% buff to all stats for 1 hour.

While these tents cannot be used in instances such as dungeons and raids, they can be used anywhere in the open world: garrison invasions, trapping elite beasts, the group Apexis quests, or any other non-instanced activity. You can only carry 5 of each type of tent at a time, but they're Account Bound and there are 21 different types of tents available. That means you can carry a potential 105 tents per character ... which makes their Unique limitations somewhat pointless.

These tents aren't the most powerful thing in the world, but they're neat items and might provide the boost your group needs to achieve Gold in a garrison invasion. If you have a Barn producing leather, you might as well use some of it for a solid questing buff.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: Abrogator Stones, garrisons, and player housing

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.

It took until January, but it's finally cold and snowy in Wisconsin. Now, I'm not a big fan of the freezing cold or anything, but it's Wisconsin. It's about time.

Chadalac2 asked:

Anyone else not getting that many stones for the legendary quest? I have like 39 and a fellow guild mate has 120. What the heck.

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Filed under: The Queue