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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.

Know Your Lore: Ner'zhul and the breaking of the pact

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.

This is one of those times when we're talking about the Warlords version of a character, and not the original. This is not the Ner'zhul we know - this is not the elder shaman who united the orc clans while being manipulated by Kil'jaeden. Although this Ner'zhul is certainly a respected shaman and the leader of the Shadowmoon Clan, he's not the same as the orc we know - he hasn't made the same choices. And yet, he is Nerzhul. The deathspeaker, the shaman who watched the stars and listened to the stories they told him.

On the Draenor we now explore, history has unfolded differently. Some things are the same - Ner'zhul's student turned on his master and sold his soul for demonic power, and attempted to lead the orc clans as a whole into slavery and a genocidal war against the Draenei. But on this world, Ner'zhul wasn't so easily deceived. There are differences between the worlds even before Garrosh Hellscream's arrival - and those differences, great and small, have led to a different Ner'zhul, who made different decisions, and brought about a dark destiny for the Shadowmoon Clan. Was it worse than the rise of the Old Horde? In some ways, of course it couldn't be - at least the orcish clans of Draenor still own their own souls.

All, perhaps, except Ner'zhul and the Shadowmoon.

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

Breakfast Topic: Happy Thursday

I'd say it's just Thursday for those of us living outside the US, but for me it will be Thanksgiving because my wife and mother in law have decided to celebrate American Thanksgiving in Canada, possibly to be nice to me, possibly because hey nobody hates a chance at another turkey. But either way it's still Pilgrim's Bounty, it's still the Anniversary event, and it's still Warlords of Draenor, the most popular World of Warcraft expansion in years and years. There can be no escape.

So let's make it simple. If you're in the US, how are you going to evade your family and play this fine day? And if you're not in the US, how are you going to ignore how Americans (including myself) seem to forget the other six billion people on the planet don't celebrate our holidays? Will you involve Warlords of Draenor in this?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topics: What Building do you think Garrisons need?

I was just wondering about what I'd put in my Garrison if I could - I still think the idea of a Tony Start style armory where all your various transmog sets were on display would be cool, but then I really got to thinking about it - maybe an airstrip to allow you to fly between various points in Draenor (or perhaps that could be how we learn flying when it comes in, via the airstrip?) or perhaps a variety of race specific buildings could be added? Something like an elaborate orrery for blood elves, a crystalline tower for draenei, a clockwork robot lab for gnomes, a stump for orcs.

Honestly, I'm dead curious. What would you add if you could add anything?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Who's your favorite follower?

So far the Garrison seems to be a hit. This got me curious as to which Garrison follower people enjoy the most. Is it a rare or elite you like because they cleave through missions, or perhaps simply a sentimental choice like my favorite, who is a spoiler heavy choice because he went through so much along side us, from Cataclysm to this expansion.

There's a lot of potential followers to consider. So who is it for you? Can you tell us, or are you still farming her, him or it?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Queue: Looking back on 10 years of WoW

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.

Consider this one a slightly more personal Queue than most, because today's the start of WoW's 10th anniversary celebration, and that means telling a little story. That screenshot above is from just before I got my Sulfuras, which I still have - I've had it for eight years now. But I wouldn't have gotten it, or done any of the raiding I did then, or even played this game at all if not for the fact that WoW let me talk to Julian, my wife (she wasn't my wife yet then) when we were separated.

World of Warcraft was our means to stay in touch after we were parted for a while, and it became something we did together - we ran through Southshore and up to Scarlet Monastery together, back before you could just queue for dungeons, when the only way to get summoned was via a warlock. Before Blackwing Lair was even out, we ran Molten Core together. We were both guilded together, raided together, and before that we leveled together. World of Warcraft has been special for me entirely because of how it made a bad patch for the two of us better, let us share sunsets on the docks, let us camp that annoying Horde druid who kept ganking lowbies outside Southshore and just kill him until it wasn't any fun for him anymore. I proposed to Julian during a Molten Core run.

The game has been a part of our lives. It is just a game, admittedly so, but it's a game we shared, a game that we met friends in, a game we played together. A game where I was once forced to level a character entirely so I could stand in a swamp and cast Heroism so that my wife could tame a special rare pet.

It's been a heck of a decade, World of Warcraft. I might not be married if not for you. I certainly wouldn't have a job writing about you if you didn't exist. So thank you.

And now, for your questions.

Zheo asks:
QFTQ: Next expansion - Legion or something else?

I can guess if you want. I have absolutely no evidence to support this, I'm making up an answer based entirely on my personal beliefs, no one's told me anything - but I think it's pretty likely that at the end of this expansion we well and truly tick the Legion off. I would not be surprised if the next expansion was the Legion come around again.

That being said, I'd be okay with a completely different expansion. I still think a gnome themed expansion could work.

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Filed under: The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Dungeon Hotfixes, Need before Greed now default

When Warlords of Draenor launched, it brought with it a new loot system - the personal loot of Raid Finder was now in place for dungeons. There were advantages and disadvantages to this - one of the advantages was that loot didn't drop that no one wanted, for example. But a lot of players found it a less than compelling system.

And apparently their voices have been heard, because it's back, baby. Rygarius posted a host of dungeon and raid hotfixes, including but not limited to the return of Need before Greed as the default loot system in dungeons. What else is happening?
  • Completing your first Heroic Warlords dungeon nets you a reward of 50 Garrison Resources.
  • The return of the Call to Arms feature for in-demand roles like tanks and healers.
  • You will now once again be able to queue for dungeons from the Ashram cities of Stormshield and Warspear.
What do you think of these changes?

Filed under: News items, Hotfixes, Warlords of Draenor

WoW's 10th Anniversary celebration starts tomorrow

It's kind of amazing to realize that WoW turns 10 tomorrow, and we get Molten Core and Southshore vs. Tarren Mill to celebrate. The fine folks at Wowhead have a detailed guide to the anniversary for you to look over. You can get an epic ilevel 640 helm, a weapon glow effect, mounts and pets from MC, titles from the new battleground, and of course the celebration package in the mail with an item to boost your reputation gain with Warlords factions.

It's not often that an MMO gets to be this big this long. We even got to see 10 million subscriptions for the 10th anniversary. Party time!

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard on Garrison Invasions

Garrison Invasions, how do they work? Well, Blizzard decided to go ahead and explain exactly that. Some players have been confused by seeing the introductory Garrison Invasion restricted to Rank 2 of the Garrison, and thought that the Invasions had been removed from Rank 3. Not the case, says Nethaera.

Nethaera - Garrison Invasions and You
We've been seeing a lot of confusion in regard to the way Garrison Invasions work and we wanted to take some time to clear up this confusion for you.

Most players will get their first taste of what Invasions will be like when they get into Tier 2 of their Garrison. Approximately midway through Frostfire Ridge or Shadowmoon Valley, a player's Garrison will be attacked either by a Thunderlord or Shadowmoon force. The quest is just a taste of what this type of gameplay offers but it's not a full blown invasion just yet. It's a way to get your feet wet and experience just a bit of what it will be like when you reach max level. For those who move quickly into their 3rd tier before getting this event, don't worry. You haven't missed out on any special rewards. It's just a precursor to what you're going to get to experience at maximum level.

Once you reach max level, these events are triggered organically. What this means is, as you fight powerful foes among the enemy factions of Draenor (generally in and around the areas for Apexis Crystal Missions) you'll draw their attention and an enemy force will eventually prepare to attack your Garrison. When that happens, the commander outside your Town Hall will have a quest for you, allowing you to trigger the invasion.

The Nuts and Bolts:

  • Your effectiveness in defending your Garrison is measured by how many enemies you're able to defeat and how many of your guards and buildings survive the assault. (Don't worry, there's no permanent damage- they will rebuild it!)
  • You can bring up to 2 friends into your Garrison to assist in the defense. (It's like a party, but with heavily armored invaders.)
  • Based on your final score you and your allies present will earn a Bronze, Silver, and/or Gold award for your efforts – each award may only be earned once per week.


So fear not - if you upgraded your Garrison to Tier 3, you'll still get your Garrison Invasions.

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

Highmaul raid schedule revealed

We've all been assiduously leveling through Warlords and now we get to find out what it was all for - starting this December 2nd, Highmaul unlocks, the first Warlords of Draenor raid zone. Blizzard has put a spotlight up on the zone, talking about specific boss fights and when the various wings of the raid unlock. As expected, mythic opens the week after normal/heroic, and LFR unfolds in wings, with wing 1 opening the same week as mythic, then wings 2 and 3 over the following weeks.

I'm interested in the decision to have Kargath Bladefist, an iconic character who even got his own Lords of War short, as the very first raid boss of the expansion. I'm also interested that there are three optional bosses this time out, with the Butcher, Tectus and Brackenspore all listed as optional. It reminds me a little of how you could go from Flame Leviathan straight to XT once your raid had geared up enough, and I'm all for it.

Head on over to the official site to get started on the preview and thinking about raid strategies. December 2 isn't far off.

Filed under: Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: Nobundo

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.

One of the fantastic things about Warlords of Draenor is getting to see the way history provides context for a life. By seeing how people have changed, and how they could have been we get a sense of how they are, as we know them - and for me one of the most fantastic changes to contemplate and understand is that of Vindicator Nobundo, a stalwart draenei paladin, who in a different life became Farseer Nobundo, first draenei shaman. Nobundo's story is one of overcoming horrific loss, enduring not just the destruction of his way of life but a corrosion of the body that threatened his very soul, and his ability to overcome and become someone who could inspire his people to a new path displays his strength of spirit.

The Vindicator Nobundo we meet on Draenor - the one who helps fight the Burning Legion forces in Talador, who comes to Nagrand to help calm the elements - has not endured the same trials as Farseer Nobundo. He has not come out the other side of seeing his people nearly destroyed, his body warped by fel energies, his connection to the Holy Light severed. And yet, he is Nobundo - he embodies everything the Farseer was, everything he lost to become who he is today.

So who is Farseer Nobundo? And who is Vindicator Nobundo?

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