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Anne Stickney

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The Queue: Ode to the Frostwall Woodcutter

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.

Oh Frostwall Woodcutter, I know not who put you in this game, nor do I understand why you and your brothers are content to do endless rounds of squats rather than toting your lumber to the appropriate building. But I am certain, dear Frostwall Woodcutter, that perhaps you would be more comfortable with a shirt. I mean come on. There's snow on the ground here.

Although I do kind of like that whole burly lumberjack thing you've got going on. Zug zug.

DavidBaldock asked:

Not that I'm concerned about getting to 100, but in a non rushed approach, if I start on Monday and put in say 3 hours a night every night, when should I expect to hit max level? Friday? The following Monday? Just curious.

If it's three solid hours of questing and dungeons, I'd say maybe a week to ten days or so, two weeks at most -- and that's mostly if you spend a lot of time fiddling around. Leveling really doesn't feel like an arduous chore this time around. It's fun, and seems to be pretty well-paced. Make sure you park it in your garrison or an inn to get rested XP when you aren't playing, and the process should be pretty smooth and painless. No rushing necessary.

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Breakfast Topic: Are you a returning player?

There are a lot of people wanting to play Warlords of Draenor. A lot of people. So many, in fact, that it has been brought up by more than one CM on Twitter. Considering how much of the past expansion has been spent connecting realms and smoothing out the population, it feels a little odd that we're seeing this kind of feedback from Blizzard -- maybe odd is the wrong word. To be perfectly honest, it feels kind of like the original launch, where new servers were being rapidly thrown up because the sheer number of people that wanted to log on and play far exceeded what Blizzard had anticipated.

Which makes me wonder about the numbers for Warlords, of course -- but we haven't seen those numbers yet, and until we do, it's almost not worth speculating about it. However, the feedback from those that have been able to play has been incredibly positive -- people love this expansion. They love it so much they really want to keep playing it, and not being able to do so is making them understandably cranky. Which, again, reminds me of vanilla, and the original launch. What Warlords has going for it is remarkably similar to the original release of WoW.

It's got the appeal of the characters first introduced in the original RTS games, it's got new, stylized character models that are a far cry from most anything else on the market, an engaging, at least partially familiar story to those that are familiar with early iterations of the original game. It's got the kind of mass appeal that vanilla did, ten years ago. Which makes me wonder -- how many people are making a return trip to the game for Warlords of Draenor? Obviously there are plenty of people that took breaks in Mists, but I'm wondering how many have returned from lengthier absences. Until we get real numbers, we won't really have a full idea of what's going on -- but I'm curious, how many of you are returning players? What brought you back? And are you liking what you see, when you can see it?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

WoW Moviewatch: Warlords of Draenor 8 Bit

Okay, so it's not 8 bit exactly, but I really don't care. Warlords of Draenor 8 Bit is Ian Beckman's attempt at turning the Warlords of Draenor trailer into something incredibly old-school, and I think he manages to successfully do that -- it might not be NES, but it's a least late SNES/Sega Genesis, or early PS1. And beyond that, it's a nostalgia laden reminder of an era in which we all thought these kinds of graphics were astonishingly cool.

And they totally were, back then. I'm not sure what Warlords of Draenor would've played like if it weren't an MMO -- certainly the old consoles weren't capable of anything like what we've got today. Maybe something more akin to those old school point and click adventure games, like the ill-fated Warcraft Adventures that never saw the light of day. I got a good laugh out of this piece though, it was really well done. If you like what you see, be sure to check out Ian Beckman's Youtube channel for more machinima shorts.

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

Draenor bestiary updated with the creatures of Nagrand

The bestiary for Warlords of Draenor has been updated with a new entry focusing on creatures primarily found in Nagrand. Most players won't be seeing Nagrand until level 98 or 99, but the entries still make for a pretty interesting read, considering most of the creatures involved are encountered in other areas of Draenor as well. Because of this, you won't really be running into too much in the way of spoiler content.

Four different creatures are highlighted in this installment, from the familiar clefthoof to the not so familiar saberon. Most interesting perhaps are the Pale, emaciated creatures that are encountered all over Draenor, but concentrated most heavily in Nagrand. Players will recognize the Pale on sight, as they are some of the first enemies encountered in both Frostfire Ridge and Shadowmoon Valley. I don't know what I was expecting in regards to their back story, but what's presented in the bestiary is a pretty creepy, interesting history with some pretty cool implications.

Check out Blizzard's official post for all the new creatures -- and while you're there, you might want to see if there are any earlier installments you may have missed along the way.

Filed under: News items, Lore, Warlords of Draenor

BlizzCon 2014 interviews feature Cory Stockton, Alex Afrasiabi

Just in case you missed it in the madness of Warlords of Draenor's launch, WoW Insider had the opportunity to interview not one but two developers this year at BlizzCon 2014. Both interviews were posted earlier this week and are well worth the look -- and may have been missed in the flood of Warlords expansion announcements and updates.

For those with more of a bent towards lore, the interview with World of Warcraft's Creative Director Alex Afrasiabi focused on the story behind the expansion, including discussion on alternate universes, some surprising stories about Garrosh Hellscream and the development of Warlords, and even an interesting tidbit about alternate Azeroth.

For those with more of a technical bent and burning questions about Warlords of Draenor's features and content, check out our interview with Lead Game Designer Cory Stockton. In the interview, we take an in-depth look at garrisons and their development, the new look of Warcraft's professions, and some cool new things to look forward to with transmogrification, as well as a few other fun features of the latest expansion.

Filed under: Interviews, BlizzCon, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: Let's do the time warp again

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 spent way too much time yesterday looking at the screen pictured above -- let's hope that won't be the case today, shall we? More importantly, let's answer some Warcraft questions.

msphoenyxx asked:

Follow up question on the portal thing. Khadgar (and all the mages in Stormshield) can open it from alternate Draenor to our Azeroth in present day. As alternate Draenor is not present day time, how does this work? I'm not familiar with mages having the powers to access time ways. That sounds like a bronze dragon thing.

Mages can handle time magic a bit -- Time Warp, after all. It's definitely not just a bronze dragon thing -- although from a speculative standpoint, I think it has less to do with time manipulation and more to do with the fact that they are basically creating a portal home -- making a portal to a place they've never been would likely be pretty difficult. Making one to home? Little easier. But only a little. Khadgar has a tough time with it, at first -- he says as much in the quests.

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Breakfast Topic: All around me are familiar faces

Let's face it: This has not been the smoothest launch we've ever seen. By now, server maintenance should be well underway to address issues that have been plaguing everyone since the expansion's release. Hopefully, once the servers are back up and running again, they'll be running pretty smoothly. I've definitely done far more waiting than playing over the past couple of days, and it's pretty frustrating.

But oh, those few glorious hours I was able to get on and play. Draenor is amazing. It's beautiful. The music is fantastic. Garrisons are ridiculously fun. And I think what's been the most fun have been the random encounters with familiar names from our version of the universe -- not necessarily the big guys like Akama, shown above, but the little guys. The ones who were minor players, the ones who had smaller, more supporting roles in prior expansions, and have decided to just show up and help out.

It's like a highlight reel of every NPC I ever helped out and liked, suddenly popping in to pay me back for all those favors I did way back when. So far, my favorites have been fond friends like Fiona and Mulverick, but I know I'll run into many more as I continue leveling -- hopefully without the long wait times to get in. What about you guys? Is there anyone in particular you've been overjoyed to see?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Garrisons, professions and more with Cory Stockton

Warlords of Draenor has arrived, with tons of new content, quests, dungeons, raids, zones, and of course garrisons! During BlizzCon 2014, we sat down with Lead Game Designer Cory Stockton to discuss the development and design behind the new feature, in addition to a closer look at the changes to professions and profession design in Warlords of Draenor. But what's a talk with Mumper without a little transmog talk thrown into the mix -- and it appears we've got more transmog changes on the distant horizon that we'd originally thought.

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Filed under: Interviews, BlizzCon, Warlords of Draenor

Alex Afrasiabi on Warlords, Garrosh, and alternate Azeroth

Warlords of Draenor is a little over 24 hours away from launch! Although Warlords of Draenor is seemingly a step in a different story direction for the franchise, it has never been in more capable hands. BlizzCon may be over, but we had the opportunity during the convention to sit down and chat with World of Warcraft's Creative Director Alex Afrasiabi about the new expansion, Garrosh Hellscream, Warcraft's creative direction, and much more.

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Filed under: Lore, Interviews, BlizzCon, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: In which Scott Leyes is our hero

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'm pretty sure my least favorite moment of every road trip ever was when we checked out of our hotel today and went to the parking garage only to find my car completely lifeless. After some brief panicking on my part and a call to my insurance company followed by an excruciating wait for a repair man who never came, reader Scott Leyes decided to be a big damn hero and swoop in to rescue us. And by rescue I mean jump start my car back to life, at which point we took the thing to an Auto Zone and got a new battery ... just in case. Look, the desert is nice and all, but I don't want to be deserted there.

Needless to say it's Been A Day, I'm really tired, and it's time to curl up and answer some Warcraft questions. We still do that around here, after all!

Devin asked:

I'm curious how many people actually want yearly expansion... I personally don't mind the downtime at the end of an expansion but understand why others do. I think 18-20 months per expansion would be perfect. Any faster than that and you're just paying more for roughly the same amount of content.

I think that it depends on what one's definition of an expansion happens to be. Blizzard has kind of defined the word as "a giant block of new content, new levels, new maps, new quests, new races, and anything else we'd like to throw in." That definition is very hard, if not next to impossible, to fill in just one year. And as long as that's the case, we're not going to see it. Personally, I'd be perfectly content if they reduced the definition of the word expansion and what that encompasses, and instead released smaller expansions on a more timely schedule. It's not that I don't like the idea of large chunks of content delivered all at once -- I just don't like the big delays in between those large chunks of content, and I'd be perfectly happy with smaller chunks delivered on a regular basis.

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