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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.

World of Warcraft patch 6.0.2 release date announced

You need wait no longer -- World of Warcraft patch 6.0.2, the pre-expansion patch for Warlords of Draenor, has been officially announced for next week. The upcoming patch features a host of systems changes - talent and abilities changes, the item squish, the removal of justice and valor points, the end of PvP Season 15, as well as a new world event involving the Iron Horde invasion and a new level 90 version of Blackrock Spire.

Head over to the official site and take a look at the announcement, and get ready for the Iron Tide to roll in.

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

Blizzard's third Garrison preview shines a spotlight on followers

So we've seen parts 1 and 2 of the Garrison Preview, and now it's time for part 3, which should feature ewoks if my memory serves me. This time, however, instead of ewoks we get followers - they fulfill many of the same functions as ewoks but they're mostly less cute. Mostly. I think Lantresor of the Blade is adorable, myself.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have Leeroy Jenkins, Milhouse Manastorm or Archmage Vargoth as your companions and friends? Well, wonder no more! It's like pet battles, only with NPC's! You can collect as many followers as you like for your garrison, but there's a limit on how many you can have active at a time - think of it as a 'too many cooks' situation. Each follower has specific abilities that make them better or worse for specific missions (some have crowd control, for example) and some followers will even be your bodyguard, accompanying you on missions and protecting you as you (and they) level up.

For more details, please check out this third preview of the Garrison feature coming in Warlords of Draenor.

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

Breakfast Topic: While It Lasts

It's Thursday morning as I write this and I just realized that I have five days before I have to learn the fury spec I'll be using for a month, the level 90 Warlords of Draenor spec. It'll have a row of level 100 talents I won't have access to, it'll shift my talents around and change my abilities. Many of them will be gone. As much as I'm not weeping over the loss of Heroic Strike and Colossus Smash for fury, their loss leaves a hole in the rotation, and one you can't really fill at level 90 - I doubt warriors will be the only ones feeling strange to their players over that month before we all start leveling.

So I took my former main (I guess it's fair to call him that, since I haven't played him very much lately, since I don't have the ability to really raid anymore) out for a spin, blew up some dungeons, did awful things to an LFR tank's confidence. When the gear squish comes in and our characters are wholly different in less than a week, we'll all have to relearn and readjust, so I figured I'd get in a few more chanced to feel ridiculous while I could. Sometimes, I look forward to the changes, and sometimes I dread them. How about you?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Do we need bigger friend lists?

This is a problem I hear about, but don't actually have, because I'm not a terribly friendly person. Try not to be shocked. But I do have some friends, and a lot of those friends are very friendly people (they'd kind of have to be to be my friends, I suppose) and they often complain that they're full up on friends. I'm not sure how one can possibly manage that many friends, but nevertheless there are folks who have completely used up all one hundred potential friends and want/need more. However, it seems they may have to wait a while. Bashiok had this to say on twitter:

This is one of those issues that makes me wonder. For one thing, the battle.net friends list actually extends past World of Warcraft - it has to be coded to work with Diablo III, Starcraft II, Hearthstone and soon Heroes of the Storm. That's a lot of different games with different code, and WoW is certainly the oldest of them. I can imagine the limits of the oldest game holding back the development. Still, for the friendly souls among us, I hope it gets solved soon.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Diablo 3, StarCraft 2, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone Insider

Breakfast Topic: What 6.0 means

I suspect it's different for everyone. For me, the last month of any expansion is always kind of melancholy. My wife and I were discussing saudade last night, a concept I wasn't familiar with, and while it's not that intense I do always feel that small pang for what's lost when an expansion rolls around. Sure, I'm excited for new content, new levels, new dungeons and raids and zones. But at the same time, Pandaria had been my home for two years now. I've explored it, seen the magnificent vistas, done battle with a host of foes and monsters. And now, it all comes to an end. That last month, we don't really even see the content anymore - in our minds we're long past it already, exploring Draenor.

So for me, patch 6.0 is bitter with the sweet - it's full of an awareness of its own mortality, of the world growing autumnal. Yes, we're still there in Pandaria, still running the same raids and dungeons, doing the same daily quests, exploring the same Timeless Isle - but we're already gone, and the world grows colder and prepares to be abandoned. I feel that longing for when it was all new, that now vanished world we first stepped into years ago. But its time is done. And here we are, in its waning weeks, finally aware of how transient it always was.

So enjoy patch 6.0, by all means, and prepare for Draenor. But give Pandaria its last month, and enjoy it for what it was, and will never be again.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Blizzard on eSports: WoW is kind of hard to watch

I don't think it's a surprise to anyone that one of the reasons World of Warcraft hasn't made as big a splash in the world of eSports as games like League of Legends is because, simply put, you can't really watch it as well as other games. Blizzard itself isn't unaware of this. According to Kim Phan, Blizzard's Sr. Manager of eSports, one of the issues they're looking at is the fact that WoW simply wasn't designed to be something people watched the way bigger eSports games are.

"I can definitely say that WoW 3v3 Arena right now is kind of hard to watch, in the form that it is," he told PCGamesN. "And so there are things that we want to evaluate."

"World of Warcraft was obviously created well before eSports blew up to the way it is now. It is taking a game that was out before all of this happened, and then figuring out how to enhance it and support it . . . What makes something an eSport really depends on what people want to see."

It's a sticky problem, to be sure - how do you promote WoW as an eSport when it's kind of hard for anyone to really watch it? I think she's dead on the mark there. Spectator mode's a nice idea, but I think we need to consider how to make stuff like Rated Battlegrounds attractive as a competitive eSport as well - larger teams would make it something relatively few such games do.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, PvP

The Queue: Pandaria CRZ, a whole lot of nonsense, class/race combos

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.

So I got asked a huge set of questions and that's kind of taking up the majority of this installment of The Queue, so let's get on with things, shall we? Let's do.

MichaelVakian asks:
Q4TQ: Any thoughts on if 6.0 will drop on a Tuesday or a Thursday? I know generally Tuesdays are the magic day, but there has been something about them terrible Thursdays that keep pricking the hairs on the back of my neck.

My default assumption is a Tuesday until I hear differently, which has not been the case so far.

Read more →

Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: My LFR phobia

I have many alts. Many of them are warriors, because, well, come on it's me you can't pretend you're surprised at this point it's been seven years. Anyway, I've been playing one of these alts quite a bit lately, gotten his gear up from a 470 to a 528 through playing the AH, using the Timeless Isle and an heirloom 2h axe from Garrosh. The problem is, there's one easy way to get better gear than I currently have - run LFR. Even just running Throne of Thunder on LFR would help because it would get me rep I could use to get a new necklace. There's just one problem - I absolutely can't bring myself to do it. At all. Not even a little bit.

I managed to force myself to run the first wing of SoO this week, got the last two bosses, and after about six wipes apiece (filled with racial epithets, trash talk, constant ragequitting, and other behavior) I just can't bring myself to do it again for the first two. It's a shame, because I miss raiding - a lot - but I can't commit to a regular raid schedule at this point. LFR, with its bite sized, raid when you havethe time approach is tailor made for the kind of schedule I have nowadays. But the behavior is so toxic that I just can't make myself try it again.

So I'm asking, because I have no idea - what could we possibly do to improve LFR as an experience?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Know Your Lore: The Dark Portal

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 Dark Portal is the symbol of the Warcraft universe. It was the loading screen for the original game, for the Burning Crusade expansion, and it will be again for the new Warlords of Draenor expansion as well. When we think of the orcish Horde pouring into Azeroth to murder and plunder, it's the Dark Portal they used to get there - when the Alliance Expedition returned the favor and took the fight to Draenor, it was the Dark Portal that allowed them to do so. The Dark Portal nearly destroyed Azeroth when Ner'zhul ripped Draenor apart into Outland, and we used it to travel to that same Outland to do battle with Illidan Stormrage.

Yet for all we know about it, there's much we don't - was it Medivh or his dark corrupter Sargeras who actually instructed Gul'dan on how to build it? How does it function, what magics sustain it, and how does Warlords tease us with the possibility that there could be many methods to power such a doorway between worlds? Why did Ner'zhul's attempt to open more portals like it destroy his Draenor, and could the same fate befall the one we're traveling to - or worse, our own Azeroth? How dangerous is it to tamper with space and, now, time in this way?

Let us pursue the history of the Dark Portal for some answers. There will be spoilers for Warlords of Draenor in the post to follow.

Read more →

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

Blizzard presents Behind the Scenes on Lords of War

If you were wondering how they came up with the idea to do the Lords of War series, Blizzard has a pretty awesome video for you to watch, up on IGN now. This behind the scenes look into the development process of the Lords of War series is interesting for what you find out you didn't get as much as for what you did. I also loved finding out that Maraad is voiced by Crispin Freeman, aka Red Arrow from Young Justice. It's very cool to get to see him explaining what he's up to in the story, and in general I liked getting to see what went into the making of this video series.

You should definitely check it out. It's up on IGN right now.

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