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Matthew Rossi

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Matthew Rossi is not a figment of your imagination. Matthew Rossi does not live in Edmonton, AB, in the cold and storied northlands of Canada. Matthew Rossi is not a large silithid. It's possible that this bio is not entirely accurate.

Shadowmoon Valley behind the scenes

If you guys have noticed, we like to feature the various throwback thursdays that developers have posted to twitter. Today we have another doozy from Cory Stockton. Previously he's shared really awesome looks back at places like Dalaran, today he gives us this look at Shadowmoon Valley in its conceptual stage. Looking it over you can see that things are still in the 'generic name' version, for instance 'Dwarf' and 'Broken Draenei Village' instead of names yet, but most of what we recognize as the Shadowmoon Valley of The Burning Crusade is on there. Considering we're going to be getting a look at an entirely new SMV as an Alliance starting zone, I find this look back very interesting.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, The Burning Crusade

The Queue: I really have no idea what this means

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

Look, blame Scott Leyes. All I know is, with Azeroth Choppers debuting yesterday, I couldn't in good conscience not feature this today. Samwise Didier absolutely is so fluffy, we just have to accept it. He is the fluffiest. His beard is a thing of wonder.

Okay, let's get started on the over 800 comments in yesterday's Queue. That sound? The one that sounds like me sobbing? That's me sobbing.

Kameron Hoffs asks:

What changes are needed for Warriors in WoD?

I'm not quite arrogant enough to think I am in possession of all the answers in terms of warrior design for Warlords. I know what I would like to see, but I'm hardly unbiased - I identify with warriors to closely to even pretend that I'm not invested in the outcome here. That said, there are a few things I think we haven't heard much about yet, and which I think need to be absolutely there in the future.
  1. Headlong Rush needs to actually work and make warriors like haste at least a little bit. Especially when it comes to protection, a spec that currently gets absolutely nothing from haste.
  2. If not Titan's Grip for protection (letting us use 2h weapons and shields) then it's long past time for Blizzard to design 1h spears. Yes, this isn't just a warrior deal, but it's important.
  3. Warriors have lost a lot of flavor. We're losing two of our three banners (the only really unique thing we got in Mists of Pandaria) and a host of other abilities. I get that we needed to lose them for ability purge sake, but we're losing things like Sunder Armor, Cleave, Berserker Stance and in general we're suffering from a lack of coolness factor. It's time for something iconic and viscerally awesome to be added to the warrior toolbox.
  4. We need to hear some details about how rage is going to work. I can't really speculate more on this one until we hear some details, but we just lost any way to get rage from damage taken, a way to generate rage on demand, and a way to get enraged on demand. Are we just expected to Charge and use our rage generation attacks and that's it for rage? Is haste expected to fill the gap? It's time for this design to be explained to us.

Read more →

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

Breakfast Topic: The best reroll possible

So I've been asked a few times lately what I would reroll to, if I was going to reroll. For me, the problem is simple. I like the following aspects of the game a lot:
  • Two handed weapons
  • Plate armor
  • Not healing
This really only leaves me with one option - if I'm not going to play a warrior, I'm basically going to play a death knight. If I could live with a best 2 out of 3 scenario, I could maybe convince myself to play my paladin again, but I might as well be honest and admit I really hate paladins. I've just always hated the way the class works in WoW. I hate the aesthetic of their spells, I hate their various tier sets, I just really don't like the class. I'd sooner play an enhancement shaman and settle for dual fist weapons than go pally. So for me, DK is basically the only other class option that has most of what I like, even if I would have to then live with their tendency to be the gaming equivalent of a Kreator album cover.

Heck, who am I kidding, that's a plus for me.

It's not likely to happen, but it got me wondering - if your favorite class became unplayable to you, what would you switch to? What's your best possible reroll?

War Crimes novel release date details

So if you're wondering when War Crimes (the upcoming Christie Golden novel about post-Siege of Orgrimmar Garrosh Hellscream and his trial) will be released, we have the details straight from author Christie Golden's Twitter account.
So not only do you know that the book will be released on May 6th, but if you just can't wait that long, you can go to Denver to the StarFest convention and snag a copy there three days early. I'm not saying you have to do this, nor am I saying to get me a copy while you're there, but I wouldn't mind it, either.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Lore, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Please let it never rise again

An eldritch abomination, a horror that cannot be borne. I'm talking about the Horde side Onyxia attunement quest chain. To this day I can't think of a single quest chain or attunement as bad, not even the ridiculously labyrinthine series of attunements required in The Burning Crusade, because the Horde attunement had the added difficulty of a turn-in NPC who moved around. Rexxar's daily wander up and down the road from Desolance to the top of Feralas and back made finding him for this quest absolutely nightmarish in the time before flight. All you could do was ride up and down hoping to find him, and doubly hoping a group of Alliance hadn't killed him on their way to or from something like a Dragon of Nightmare (one spawned in northern Feralas at the time). It was seriously quite insanely irritating.

So yes, it must never be brought back in any shape or form. To do so would be abominable.

What's your biggest "Let this never happen again" moment in WoW?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The World as Story: Emergent storytelling in World of Warcraft

How does storytelling function in World of Warcraft? What are its limits? Does it have to unfold solely via quest text, or can it be told via other means? I ask this in part due to a developing discussion on the scale and scope of how the world we interact with as we play reveals the story elements. Back when I first started playing WoW, game story was almost exclusively revealed via quest text. When it wasn't, it was often revealed via in-game books. I remembered being floored with the pre-fight scene between Majordomo Executus and Ragnaros because it was a bit of story happening entirely in front of my eyes via dialogue and scene.

Over the years World of Warcraft has added a host of tools to its story delivery options - cutscenes, scenarios, events like Battle for Undercity, open-ended exploration, and quest integration with each of these kinds of vectors for story. It's not all just text anymore - we have in-game cinematics, cut-scenes rendered and played through using totally in game scenes, dialogue (the end of the Isle of Thunder, when Jaina and Lor'themar confronted one another was entirely realized through in-game dialogue), scenarios like A Little Patience and Dagger in the Dark, and even more complex combinations of all of them. The Dominance Offensive/Operation Shieldwall story in particular was unveiled through all of these techniques, using every arrow in the quiver to drive the story points home.

I'm bringing this up because of the recent revelation that not all secondary objectives in Warlords of Draenor will have quest text. The discussion led to a series of tweets from Dave Kosak that I think definitely are worth discussing. How do we get story in an MMO? Can the world we encounter be the story itself? As we move through it, how can it be best presented to us?

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: Look back in Draenei

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.

The draenei have a lot of unresolved issues.

For starters, they're stranded on a strange planet called Azeroth, after having just barely escaped Outland. They lived on Outland (back when it was called Draenor) for a few hundred years, time enough to start thinking of the place as home. Then it was taken from them, and their people nearly totally exterminated. Their escape to Azeroth was an accident, crashing here because their ship was sabotaged by blood elf servants of Kael'thas Sunstrider.

So let's look over things. In the past few decades the draenei have seen formerly amicable neighbors turn bloodthirsty, demon-addicted monsters. They endured the near-total extinction of their people, hiding in swamps and bedraggled refugee settlements, seeing many of the survivors mutate and lose their connection with the Holy Light. They saw roads made out of the bones of their people. They only escaped by stealing back a dimensional ship from people they'd never really seen or heard of who still helped try and kill them. And as soon as they arrived on this new planet they found out that the Burning Legion (the very same force that is trying to exterminate them) has already been here.

This is a condensed list, of course.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: Sometimes I use music to wake up


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

Sometimes you wake up and you need to get your brain moving immediately. This has been one of those days.

This is the Queue. I'm filling in. Let's answer some questions.

rovingbandit211 said:

So everything the Blizz Devs have been saying about the Garrisons being an integral and mandatory part of questing and game play is actually wrong? This will be interesting. I bet you another hat you are wrong here Holisky.

Well, I'm no Holisky, but I have these tweets from Jeremy Feasel (@Muffinus) to back up that you can entirely skip the Garrisons while leveling if you want to and still go back and get the rewards. Without actually seeing how they will be integrated, we just have to wait and see. But there's evidence that, while they're certainly more integrated than the farm was, they're not 'mandatory'. I'm aware that saying this doesn't mean they're not mandatory or integrated for questing - Scott Andrews went to PAX East and got a lot of insight about them, and it seems like they will certainly be involved in how we quest. We'll find out. Since I have never made any promises to eat anything for you, I come out ahead either way.

Read more →

Filed under: The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Muffinus serves up Garrison details

Senior Game Designer Jeremy Feasel (he has an NPC named after him, the ultimate honor) has been answering questions on twitter about garrisons. Quite a few, in fact. Under his twitter handle of @Muffinus he dished out some pretty interesting details on what the current design for the feature is.
  • Garrisons are going to give you perks outside of them (we already knew about the faster mount speed perk, but others are being worked on).
  • Some perks, like a free resurrection, will not carry over into raids so as to keep them from becoming mandatory perks everyone has to get for their garrison. They want to keep customization as a draw and let players pick the perks they want.
  • You aren't hard gated by the initial quest that establishes the garrison - you can pursue the benefits and perks of the feature even if you decide to bypass it when leveling.
  • You will not have to stop doing something to run back and defend your garrison if/when it comes under attack. It's not a time-limited mechanic.
I'm pretty excited about garrisons, as they combine elements of player housing, RTS elements from the old Warcraft games, and new kinds of minigames. Should be interesting to get to see them in action.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Warlords of Draenor

WoW Moviewatch: The Warcosmos with Veal TheGrass Byson

Movie time! Today, we have The Warcosmos with Veal TheGrass Byson, by Wowcrendor. Clearly based off of the recent relaunch of Cosmos, Crendor takes this opportunity to look at aspects of the World of Warcraft that we've all gotten used to over the years but which are somewhat baffling if you ever stop and think about them. I particulary liked the bit about fire, myself, because I've been wondering that myself for quite some time.
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 moviewatch@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

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