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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.

The Queue: Exploration, garrison resources, 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.

After the long drought, we now have a deluge of Warlords of Draenor questions. And I couldn't be happier.

ArthurN asked:

Is there supposed to be an easy way for Horde to get into Shadowmoon Valley? I had a Garrison quest to tame an animal in Shadowmoon Valley. I made it in, even picked up a flight path with the Shadowmoon Exiles (they were yellow to me instead of red like everyone else in the zone). But I had to run around the coastline a bit to find some passable beach. The only way in by land that I found was guarded by Alliance. Am I missing something? And is it similarly tricky for Alliance to get into Frostfire Ridge?

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

Hotfixes for November 14 and realm stability update

Earlier this evening, community manager Bashiok provided an update on World of Warcraft's server stability issues.

Warlords Launch Update
We're making preparations for the Europe maintenance beginning in just an hour, and along with hardware upgrades we will be implementing some of the performance improvements we've been testing. One of these is a fairly large change to the way the game world is run by the servers-expanding the phasing tech used for the Tanaan intro experience to the entire continent of Draenor. This will allow us to run multiple copies of Draenor simultaneously, spreading out server population, while attempting to keep guilds and parties within the same copy. We're currently running tests of this tech on a few North American realms, and have found we're able to raise realm capacity by a significant amount. We'll continue to provide updates as we progress through the Europe maintenance, and prepare to apply the same changes on the Americas and Oceanic realms.


Running multiple instances of an overworld zone is a long-lived practice in MMO games in general, even dating back to games contemporary with the launch of WoW in 2004. Until now, Blizzard has tried to avoid implementing such a thing to preserve their philosophy of the game's social aspects -- the idea of a persistent world shared with other players. Now, for the sake of stability, Blizzard is finally implementing it. We could debate their philosophy given their implementation of phasing in questing, but that's not necessarily applicable when talking about instancing entire servers. Whether it's a temporary measure or not, time will tell.

In addition, Blizzard has released a new round of hotfixes. Like yesterday's numerous hotfixes, many of these are aimed at questflow issues, and others at bugs in gameplay. You can find the hotfixes below.

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Filed under: Hotfixes, Warlords of Draenor

Maintenance scheduled for November 15

Following today's maintenance and the continuing rocky launch of Warlords of Draenor, Blizzard has announced another round of extended maintenance for November 15 on North American realms. According to the Battle.net launcher, realms will be taken down at 3:00 a.m. PST and Blizzard expects to have them up again at 9:00 a.m. PST.

We do hope these launch issues are brought under control soon. Saturday maintenance is, historically, highly unusual -- and not very convenient for players. As necessary as it may be, extended weekend downtime is a hard sell for a brand new release.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Third round of Warlords of Draenor hotfixes for November 13 now live

After round one and round two of today's hotfixes comes round three. Once again, these hotfixes are aimed primarily at questflow, but there are a few bugfixes in the mix. Highlights include:
  • Artificer Romuul: Resolved an issue where players may sometimes not receive this quest after completing the Embaari Defense Crystal event.
  • These Colors Don't Run: Characters now receive credit towards planting a Frostwolf Banner when they defeat or help in defeating a Bladespire Ogre with the exception of Bladespire Mauler, Chef, Boarbuster, Ogron, and Goresnout.
  • Collision geometry has been added to Drek'Thar, Thrall, and Gazlowe in Frostfire Ridge.
  • Resolved an issue where Keg Smash may sometimes not generate Chi when used.
You can find the full list of hotfixes below.

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Filed under: Hotfixes, Warlords of Draenor

European and North American realms going down for unscheduled maintenance


Update 8:55 p.m. PST:

North American realms are now going down at 5 a.m. PST and will be offline for an unscheduled 4 hour maintenance window.

Original Post at 8:44 p.m. PST:

Only announced within the last few minutes, European realms will be going down imminently for an unscheduled 4 hour maintenance window.

Though wholly undesirable by most players, an emergency maintenance period may turn out to be the best way to get realm stability issues under control.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Additional hotfixes issued for November 13

Blizzard has released the details of a second round of hotfixes today to go along with those issued earlier today, the majority of which are aimed at bottlenecks in questing and other questing issues. Highlights include:
  • Dark Enemies: Increased spawn rates for Shadowmoon Voidmancer.
  • [Requires a realm restart.] Gormaul Tower: (Temporary) Completion credit for the quest is automatically awarded once players reach the top of the hill.
  • Toy Train Set has been temporarily disabled.
The Shadowmoon Voidmancers were one of the earliest problematic areas in the Alliance questing experience, a bottleneck that caused a severe buildup of players last night and this afternoon. And the Toy Train Set hotfix will surely be appreciated by those stuck standing near a portal or any other bottleneck location.

The full hotfixes can be found below.

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Filed under: Hotfixes, Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard confirms World of Warcraft target of DDoS attack [UPDATED]

Update 5:50 a.m. PST:

The servers are now down for maintenance, and the attack is over. If further ones happen, we'll announce accordingly.

Update 8:15 p.m. PST

The DDoS attacks continue. Blizzard is rolling out updates to the backend services at a breakneck pace right now, some of which are having unintended consequences and further complicating an already messy situation. However, it should be noted that this is to be expected when combating such a large scale attack. In no way is Blizzard responsible for the server outages on this scale -- responsibility rests with the script kiddies and bot net controllers.

It's hard to know just how big this attack is, but with the sustained issues it's causing, and the severity of response from Blizzard, it's safe to assume that it's big. Battle.net is a hardened internet service that has withstood onslaughts like this before. For it to fail at such a critical juncture is nothing but catastrophic for the short term, and could have serious long term implications. We have some idea, shown above, of just how global this attack is.

We'll update this post as the night continues, providing you with the latest. In the mean time -- we recommend you catch up on your lore, and not concern yourself with logging in.

Blizzard also issued the following updated statement at 8:00 pm PST this evening:

Blizzard Entertainment
Our top priority continues to be service issues impacting performance and long wait times on North American realms. We recently pushed a server change that caused disconnects, and as a result login services are heavily impacted as players attempt to (re)log in to the game. If you experience issues logging in, please be patient and wait a few minutes before trying again. We're continuing to work to address other stability and latency issues as well as make additional improvements in game performance.


Updated by Adam Holisky. Original post follows after the break.

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Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor hotfixes and other issues

Like any WoW expansion, Warlords of Draenor has not been without its issues. Garrison services are currently undergoing a restart and a fresh round of hotfixes has been released, primarily aimed at questing content. Some highlights:
  • Back to Work / Looking for Lumber: Greatly increased the number of trees available to mark for both Horde and Alliance versions of the quest. Additionally, Lunarfall Ravens respawn much more quickly now.
  • Ship Salvage / What We Need: Drudgeboat Salvage should now respawn more quickly.
  • Durotan at Beastwatch in Gorgrond is now significantly tougher.
You can find the full hotfixes below.

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Filed under: News items, Hotfixes, Warlords of Draenor

Last Week on Massively: BlizzCon 2014

Overwatch
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.

BlizzCon 2014 dominated the weekend in all corners of the Joystiq network, Massively included. Blizzard not only announced OFPS Overwatch but spilled details on Hearthstone's upcoming expansion, Diablo III, Heroes of the Storm, the Warcraft movie, and the World of Warcraft Warlords of Draenor expansion launching this coming Thursday. We've rounded up all the best bits from Massively and WoW Insider right here!
Liveblogging the opening ceremonies of BlizzCon 2014
World of Warcraft Q&A liveblog
World of Warcraft items, class changes liveblog
Blizzard announces new charity pet for ebola relief efforts
Warcraft movie panel liveblog
Blizzard takes on superheroes with Overwatch
Live blogging the Overwatch panel
Overwatch hands-on gameplay impressions
The heroes of Overwatch
Hearthstone: Goblins vs. Gnomes expansion announced
Hearthstone: Goblins vs. Gnomes cards and mechanics
Diablo III previews Season 2
Heroes of the Storm panel

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

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, MMO Roundup

TradeChat's recap of BlizzCon 2014

Missed BlizzCon? Didn't get in on the virtual ticket? Panser has you covered with her recap of BlizzCon 2014. She covers the biggest news of the convention and provides a convenient gathering place for all of BlizzCon's hottest trailers. On top of it all, she provides a great big dose of Overwatch geekery, a sentiment many of us share.

Filed under: News items, BlizzCon