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Anne Stickney

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Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The terrifying, living world of Draenor

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.

We don't really know much about Draenor. Certainly we know plenty about Outland, the shattered remains of a world once called Draenor, but that shattered world is a mere remnant of what Draenor actually was. In the Warcraft cosmos, the only planet we are incredibly familiar with is Azeroth -- and even then, Azeroth holds plenty of mysteries and riddles that have yet to be solved. But Draenor bears very little resemblance to Azeroth, touted instead as a savage land on which we'll have to fight to survive.

That statement is far more literal than you'd think. And if you thought the Iron Horde was the biggest problem we were going to face on Draenor, you'd be very, very wrong. In a universe of benevolent Titans, bastions of order, what makes a planet fight not just with aggressive invading forces, but itself?

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains spoilers for Warlords of Draenor.

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition. The following contains speculation based on known material. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact or official lore.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Raid testing to begin Monday, July 21

Lead Game Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has announced that the Warlords of Draenor beta will begin raid testing tomorrow with two Heroic encounters -- one from Highmaul, and one from Blackrock Foundry. As a Heroic level encounter, the raid will accommodate anywhere between 10 and 30 players. Players that wish to test the encounter can speak to Nexus-Lord Donjon Rade in either Stormwind, Orgrimmar, or their garrisons, once the encounters are open for testing.

The Butcher from Heroic Highmaul will be available for testing beginning at 1:30pm PDT, and Gruul from Heroic Blackrock Foundry will be available beginning at 4pm PDT. Please note that testing periods are subject to change at any time -- if you're interested in testing, keep an eye on the official thread in case any changes are made to times or dates.

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Filed under: Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: Sunday songs

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

It's Sunday! And there are plenty of questions to answer, so let's just hop into them.

Ethan815 asked:

Q4tQ (but mostly for the readers): What is your favorite track from each of the WoW soundtracks?

I'm not going to list every track I love from every expansion, but the track above is one I've had stuck in my head recently.

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: How often do you look at your character's face?

The first thing I do when I create a character is turn on auto loot. The second thing I do is turn off both the helm and cloak displays. It's very rare that I actually have a visible helm on any of my characters -- usually if I do, it's a helm that doesn't really block the face too much. It's mostly because I like seeing what my character looks like -- after all, I spent all that time picking out what face, hair color and other touches I wanted on my character, I want to see it!

With the new character models, there is so much detail in the expressions and nuances of the characters that I honestly don't know if I'll ever make a helm visible again. It's like playing a brand new game, and it's really weird, but really cool to see the updates in action. Screenshots and model viewers are all well and good, but you don't really get a sense of what these new models look like until you see them and play with them in game -- and after seeing them, the last thing I want to do is cover them up!

But I'm only one person, and my habits are just that, habits. I'm wondering, especially with the advent of transmog and being able to choose whatever helm you'd like to wear -- how many people turn off helms and cloaks these days? How familiar are you with how your character looks? Have you gotten a good look at your character's face lately, or are you more accustomed to seeing them covered up? And when the new models come out, are you going to change your character's transmog to suit them, or simply leave things as they are?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Warlords of Draenor: New Hallow's End rewards in next beta build

Although we don't know if the holiday itself will be getting a facelift in Warlords of Draenor, it looks like fans of Hallow's End will be getting some new toys to play with in the next expansion. Senior Game Designer Jeremy Feasel posted on Twitter this week with a question for players: If they could dress up like one major lore figure for Hallow's End, who would they choose? A later tweet suggested he had found whatever answer he was looking for.


In-game holidays have long been a source of fun and sometimes frustration for players. Certainly the events are an entertaining diversion, but when you've seen the same event roll around year after year with no changes or updates, it tends to make the seasons seem a little monotonous. A new costume wand reward might not be the full revamp players have been hoping for, but at least it signifies that in-game holidays are still very much on the minds of the development team.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

WRUP: And now, our feature presentation

This week saw a release date announcement for Curse of Naxxramas, the first adventure pack for Hearthstone. Release dates are fine and all that, but in more relevant WoW news, this week also saw the launch of a brand new beta build that opened up four new levels to obtain, two new PvE zones worth of quests, two model revamps, one PvP island, a mysterious portal, and a whole mess of new places to explore.

Sure, we already have a list of things to expect from Warlords, and a list of features we'll be seeing in the new expansion. But this week, in addition to asking everyone what they are playing this weekend, we decided to ask what one feature they'd like to see added to Warlords. How about you guys -- and what are you playing?

Alex Ziebart (@AlexZiebart) This weekend I'm taking it easy for the most part and spending time outside. When I am playing something, I'll be on the Warlords beta checking out Talador. As for new features? Real player housing is still something I really want after seeing it in action in Wildstar -- the amount of creativity some players pour into their lots is incredible. Though I'd accept a Karabor comeback as an alternative.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

US Connected Realms update for July 18

The list of US realms slated for the Realm Connection service has been updated with new dates and new planned connections. If you are on a realm that is scheduled to be connected, be aware that Realm Connections take place on Thursdays rather than during Tuesday maintenance. Scheduled realms are brought down at approximately 5am PDT, and back up at approximately 1pm PDT. And just in case you're wondering what exactly this Realm Connection process will do for you, the player, Blizzard has a handy blog on the subject that explains things in detail.

The following US realms are scheduled for connection on Thursday, July 24.
  • Deathwing and Executus, Kalecgos, and Shattered Halls
  • Gilneas and Elune

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Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

Warlords of Draenor: Mysterious portal appears in Stormwind

The latest beta build for Warlords of Draenor brought with it an odd anomaly with no explanation as of yet. A mysterious portal has appeared behind the mage tower in Stormwind City, one that bears a striking resemblance to every Emerald Dream portal we've ever seen present in game. At this time, there are no NPCs or anything present to indicate exactly what's up with the portal, however there is no Orgrimmar counterpart -- this is unique to Stormwind.

There's a few possibilities here. The most obvious is that this is somehow related to the Stormwind repairs mentioned last month on Twitter by Cory Stockton. After all, if you're going to fix a park, druid intervention sounds like a good plan, right? The other option is that this is somehow related to Draenor -- and those wild vines have the look of some of the savage greenery found on Draenor, while the tents have the same purple color as used by some of the orc clans. This seems sort of unlikely at this point, largely because there is no Orgrimmar counterpart.

While we don't know what exactly the portal is for, it's still cool to see additions and changes being made to Azeroth right alongside all the gorgeous new vistas and scenery we're checking out on Draenor. We'll have to wait and see what kind of NPC's pop up around the portal, or how exactly it's implemented as more beta builds are released. But for now, those hoping that this might be some sign of a future full-out Emerald Dream expansion -- I wouldn't hold your breath.


Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: Well I look a little different

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

I logged onto the beta to find new models in place for both my shaman and my priest. I really like how the model revamps are coming along -- they look absolutely amazing, and my shaman is everything I could've hoped for. But let's get to the Warcraft questions, shall we?

jpec07 asked:

Do you think we should get recustomizations with the new models? Do you think we will?

Do I think we should get them? Yes. To keep it reasonable, limit it to one per WoW license, like the level 90 boosts that are coming with the expansion. Don't get me wrong, the new models look great, but I think it would go a long way if we were allowed to freely tweak our chosen main and make a few changes if we see fit to do so. I don't think it needs to be in place for every character on our account, but you'd think that one wouldn't be too far of a stretch. Do I think we'll actually get one? I honestly couldn't tell you -- we've been told no, that will not be a thing, but we're still in beta and Blizzard has been known to occasionally change their minds about things. We'll have to wait and see.

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: What time do you usually play?

I don't really play games during the day -- most of the time, I'm working on something, either around the house or for work. When I'm actually going to sit down and play a game, it's usually in the evening, after dinner is done and taken care of. It's a habit I guess -- if the sun is still shining outside, I have other things to do. There are a few exceptions of course, because I do hop on beta servers at any given hour of the day in order to test content, take screenshots, and write. On top of that, Tuesdays are the days that I'll usually log on to quickly kill whatever world boss I happen to be farming, and then hop right back off again.

Because of this schedule, I don't usually see what Azeroth looks like in the middle of the day. With darker nights about to make a return, it's likely I won't see too much of the sun while I'm playing unless I'm in specific areas. Oddly enough, that doesn't bother me a bit. If nothing else it's a quiet and constant reminder that yes, the hour is late and yes, I should be thinking about things like sleep before too much time has passed. Sure, the clock is another reminder -- but it's the dark skies that give me an immediate visual cue as to the hour of the day.

I'm just one outlying example, though -- and when I'm online, there usually aren't that many people on. So I'm wondering, when exactly do you guys usually play? Middle of the day? After work, but before dinner? In the wee hours of the morning? Is the possibility of darker nights in game something that excites you, or something you'd rather not see? When do you prefer to log on and spend some time playing the game?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics