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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: Which Horde is Which?

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.

There will be spoilers for Warlords of Draenor in this post

So you may be confused right now. With the soon to come introduction of the Iron Horde, we've entered a situation where we've got several different Hordes. There's the Old Horde, the original Horde that invaded Azeroth from Draenor. There's the New Horde, or Horde 2 if you prefer, the Horde put together by Thrall after he liberated the orc survivors from the Second War, leading them out of the internment camps and to the shores of Kalimdor. Along the way they picked up the tauren and Darkspear trolls as allies, and eventually the Forsaken, blood elves and Bilgewater goblins joined their ranks. This Horde is the Horde most players are still a part of. Meanwhile, at the same time, there was the Dark Horde, consisting of Blackrock orcs under the command of Rend Blackhand and his ultimate master, Nefarian.

During his reign as Warchief of the Horde (the New Horde, to be specific) Garrosh Hellscream recruited both the Blackrock and Dragonmaw orcs to join the Horde. But at the same time, he grew disenchanted with the other races of the Horde - goblins were too greedy, blood elves too mercurial, undead too loyal to Sylvanas and distasteful to his sensibilities, the Darkspear too loyal to their Vol'jin, and the tauren ultimately too bound to their own code of honor. It didn't help that he'd killed Cairne Bloodhoof and further alienated the tauren clan leader Baine, Cairne's son, with his actions. Soon, Garrosh found himself leading a Horde he didn't much trust or care for.

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

Breakfast Topic: How Many Dungeons? All.

I raided back in Cataclysm. But for me, the most fun was five player dungeons. I've always preferred the five player dungeon to any other form of content - I like them more than scenarios, more than raids, more than PvP. There's just something so perfect about the five player experience. Sure, it's not always good - I have had plenty of bad PuG's in my time - but to me the dungeon is like pizza. Even when it's bad, I'll eat it. Actually, that might go for most kinds of food. Hmm. I may have a problem.

Anyway, reading Zarhym's forum posts today (as I do) one of the things that really grabbed my attention was that the folks at Blizzard are aware that we wanted more five mans and didn't get them for Mists. This is a good thing, this awareness, but only if it translates to a renewed focus on incoming five man content. Especially with Challenge Modes so much a part of the game today, more five mans means more Challenge Modes to do. I didn't like any of the Challenge Mode rewards in Mists, but the ones coming in Warlords interest me greatly, and I'm looking forward to them.

So here we are, me praising dungeons. Five player ones. How do you feel about the humble five person experience? Yay or nay?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Queue: In Name Only

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.

Questions will be answered! Misconceptions shall be splintered! A Queue day, a red day, ere the sun rises!

JodySchaeffer asks:
Since this is a different timeline with no impact on our own history, I'm wondering why our characters should even care, story-wise, about these people who are historical characters in name only. That isn't Grom, that isn't Gul'dan, it isn't even really Draenor.

The only redeeming thing I can think of is a Legion invasion at the end of WoD that destroys the fragmented timeline and sets up the next expansion. Have it so we can visit our Garrisons through the Timewalkers so they weren't for nothing.

But yeah. Since they're so big on stressing these AREN'T famous characters from lore, why does it matter who they are at all?

Well, there's several reasons. The first is pragmatic. The Iron Horde is coming through into our world, blowing up our settlements, and making war on us. So we should care about these people because these people are literally trying to murder us. I don't know about you, but I tend to be concerned when people want to kill me.

From another perspective, it's like this - yes, that Grom isn't the Grom who died fighting Mannoroth to lift the blood curse. But he is Grom. He shares many life experiences in common with the Grom we know - he has as much right to be called Grom Hellscream as the other one did. Saying that's not really Gul'dan is foolishness. It is Gul'dan. It's not the Gul'dan whose skull ended up in Felwood, allowing Illidan to consume its power and become a demon. But it is Gul'dan. And the reason we shouldn't just ignore that fact is simple - even though his life has taken a different path than our Gul'dan did, he's still the same evil power hungry maniac, just as the Grom we'll meet in Draenor is still the bloodthirst orc whose howl drove fear into the hearts of others. They're not identical to the people we know, but they are similar, and that's a source of knowledge about them. We'd be fools to not use that knowledge to our own advantage.

Up to you if your character is a fool, of course.

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Filed under: The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Forums vs. Social Media

Recently, Celestalon has been hitting the forums to talk about various classes and specs, from arms and fury warriors to discipline priests and death knights and elemental shamans. What's interesting to me about this is how it illustrates the strengths of forum posts over social media like twitter, and also, how much work it can be to make detailed forum posts like these.

What social media does very well is provide an instant dialogue between developers and the player base. What it is pretty bad at is allowing for in depth responses. I find the idea of getting back to the forums for feedback like this something I want to encourage. I don't want Blizzard or other game companies and their developers to abandon twitter - far from it - but as time consuming as doing forum responses like these can be, it's an ultimate good in my opinion to get more detailed information out in front of the players.

But since this is a Breakfast Topic, let's find out what you think about this. Which do you prefer? What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of each method of communication between game designers and players?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

WoW subscription price increases in UK

Recently it's been announced that the price for a WoW subscription has increased for those paying in pounds (namely, residents of the United Kingdom). These prices are adjusted for all levels - recurring subscriptions will be £9.99 for 30 days, £28.17 for 90 days, and £52.14 for 180 days. In addition, the price of the 60-day prepaid time card will be £20.99.

Now, if you're currently a subscriber to World of Warcraft in the UK, there is a way around this - namely, stay subscribed.

Taepsilum - Secure your current recurring subscription price for two years
As a thank you for current World of Warcraft subscribers, we guarantee that players with recurring (auto-renewing) subscriptions at the time of the price change will retain their current price for two years, as long as they remain in the same recurring subscription without interruption. This applies to anyone who is already in, or signs up for, a recurring subscription prior to the price change, which is scheduled to take place at the Warlords of Draenor release. We will reach out to relevant players approximately two months prior to the price change with a reminder.


I get why players are upset about this, especially since it means that if you decide to do what a lot of us do and drop your sub for a few months when there's no content, you'll be resubbing at the higher rate. I would find that a bummer, personally.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Blizzard considering Robin Williams tribute NPC

Ever since Robin Williams' death this week, there's been talk of him getting an official NPC in World of Warcraft. It's an idea I certainly support -- Mister Williams was well known as a WoW player and overall lover of things gaming (when I lived in San Francisco, I actually bumped into him at a game store there, and he explained Warhammer figures to me for several minutes) -- and so far, Blizzard seems pretty receptive to the idea. Asked about a change.org petition on the subject, Celestalon tweeted the following response.

Since then, Ion Hazzikostas has spoken out about the topic as well, and while he hasn't said specifically where or what the NPC would be, he was pretty encouraging. Mentioning to the AP that they hadn't decided yet how best to proceed, he went on to note:

"All of us are massive Robin Williams fans," said Hazzikostas. "We love and appreciate his work. We grew up watching his movies and stand-up. We knew he was an avid WoW player, which was awesome. We have a number of pop culture references and things that reflect great figures of our time here and there. We're just thinking about the appropriate and right way to do it."

So it seems likely that there will be a Robin Williams tribute NPC in the game once that's been worked out. It's just a matter of figuring out how best to do it.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

The Queue: But we will be conquerors

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.

I really like that line. That being said I think Grommash looks like Sean Bean with an overbite in this cinematic, so he's doomed.

Also, let me be up front - I predicted October as the latest for this expansion, and I was wrong. It's worth admitting when you're wrong.

DiavoJinx asked:
Question!
Has there been any evidence in Warcraft so far that mages can specifically manipulate magnetism (like Magneto)?
I'm thinking if it's the "Iron Horde", then lots of iron in their weapons & armor along with wood, so we just need some fire mages and some magnetism mages to port in and take care of the whole situation. Shortest expansion yet! ;-)


As far as I can tell, no, we've seen no such mages. Quite frankly, everybody uses weapons and armor made out of magnetic materials, like iron and steel. It's not like it would just be good against the Iron Horde. As to why mages can't do that... maybe they just haven't thought to try yet. Ooh, new level 110 spells!

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Filed under: The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Mannoroth does not read strats

I'm sorry, but seriously, he just stood there and took the Iron Star to the face like a 4am Garrosh wipe. I'm now utterly convinced that Mannoroth's big problem is, he just doesn't read raid strats.

So what did you think of the cinematic? Were you impressed by the callbacks to the Warcraft 3 orc ending? Did you think it was funny how it seems like Grommash didn't know that was demon blood until Garrosh threw Gorehowl back to him? He seriously had a eww, that's what that was look on his face. I'm also amused that the great and powerful Mannoroth, first among pit lords, has now twice fallen for the one shot from an axe trick. At least this time it was a head shot.

I really did like this trailer. I have friends that didn't, but I did. I think it's exceedingly well done. And man, even though I don't know why Garrosh is wearing a hood/mantle, I did like the reveal. I'm still not clear on why he didn't immediately kill Gul'dan, though.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Animated miniseries Lords of War makes its debut

In addition to the cinematic and a bunch of previews, the Community Event also handed us a sneak preview of Lords of War, the new animated series covering the history and backstory for each of the warlords we're going to meet when we step through the Dark Portal and confront them on Draenor. The first is the Shattered Hand.

The series has an interesting premise -- King Varian is faced with the same force that destroyed Stormwind under his father's rule and he's desperately trying to figure out how he can beat what his father couldn't. Vindicator Maraad faced them on his Draenor, so he has the dirt on each of the warlords. We get the story from him. I'm not sure how well that works when we're dealing with an alternate Draenor, but it makes for some well-animated storytelling, I'll tell you that much.

So head on over and watch episode one of Lords of War and get ready for the remaining episodes.

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

Warlords of Draenor: UBRS available at level 90 before expansion

During the Community Event we got a surprise from Ion Hazzikostas, namely that before we can even go to Draenor, when patch 6.0 drops, we'll get a chance to get up close and personal with the Iron Horde as they invade Upper Blackrock Spire. This dungeon will be available as a level 100 dungeon once the expansion releases, but before that, in patch 6.0 we'll be able to run it as a level 90 dungeon to get loot that will serve us as we get ready to go to Draenor.

In addition he mentioned the world event of the Iron Horde pushing into the Blasted Lands, overwhelming the area around the Dark Portal and putting both the Horde and Alliance on the defensive. It's up to players to take the battle to the Iron Horde, push them back through the portal, and defeat the forces under Warlord Zaela in Upper Blackrock Spire.

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