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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.

New Undelete Character feature for World of Warcraft

I have to admit, I didn't see it coming, and I probably should with the push to get players to return for Warlords of Draenor. A new automated service, useable once every 30 days, will allow you to restore a deleted character. What are the restrictions on this service? Well, for starters, level 10 and below characters are just plain gone. Same with level 55 DK's. If you barely even played it, don't try to undelete it, it's gone.
New Feature Incoming: Undelete Character
In the upcoming pre-Warlords of Draenor content patch, we're adding a new feature that allows players to undelete characters. But before you delete that character, there are a few limitations we want you to let you to know about first.
  • Characters under level 10 and Death Knights at level 55 are not eligible to be undeleted.
  • Characters between level 10 and level 29 will no longer recoverable after 90 days.
  • Characters between level 30 and 49 will no longer recoverable after 120 days.
  • All other characters level 50 and above are eligible to be undeleted at any time.
  • Please keep in mind you will only be able to use the undelete option once every 30 days.
Undeleting a character restores all of its enchantments, gems, and items fully intact. You'll be able to get back into action right away, and your character won't remember being deleted-we won't tell, either.

Shhhh. . . .

Reclaiming Your Name: What About Flugur?

We'll be holding deleted character names for a limited time, and the original creator can reclaim it for use on a new character during that time. If you create a new character with the same name as one of your deleted characters (let's say Flugur), the new character must be renamed, transferred, or deleted to complete the restoration of the original Flugur.


That last bit seems odd to me - wouldn't it be easier to just force Flugur to be renamed? Does this mean if I created a new warrior named Flugur and leveled him to 90, I'd have to fork out for a rename if I wanted my old BC era Flugur back? But otherwise it's a cool thing to have added, and I might even make use of it for that paladin I deleted back in BC. He had some weird stuff in his bags from Naxx.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Scenarios, daily quests, and events in Warlords

It's true that scenarios still exist in Warlords of Draenor, but it's also true that their existence is radically altered - no more the easy three person content you can queue for at max level for easy rewards. Now, you may be trumpeting this as a grand thing, and in some ways you may even be right, but scenarios and heroic scenarios served a purpose in Mists and I'm starting to be concerned about their removal and the change in dungeons. One of the things to keep in mind is, with the removal of valor points and the conversion of many items to costing gold, we're essentially taking out the mechanism that once served as a consolation prize when it was first introduced back in The Burning Crusade. Furthermore, by removing scenarios as content players can essentially run whenever and wherever they wish, we're winnowing down options at endgame. The Timeless Isle model for endgame content has its flaws, and converting all of Warlords to it has some potential pitfalls.

For starters, the heavy de-emphasis on daily quests combined with the lack of scenarios and the placing of heroic dungeons behind the proving ground barrier removes a solid amount of low pressure, easily accessed content. Considered separately these ideas aren't an issue, but when you put them all together you can start to see one problem - they remove choices for players, and in doing so offer no replacement. This may be by design. Some players lament that there's too much to do in Mists of Pandaria's endgame. Starved for choice is a real phenomenon, and it may be a good move to thin out those options. But it may not.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: How big should dungeons be?

This is one of those topics I've written about before, but I love the oldest, classic dungeons of World of Warcraft. WoW has had a lot of great dungeons over the years, I'm not saying it hasn't, but for me personally I've never liked any of the more recent dungeons as much as the classic ones - I especially loved Dire Maul, Blackrock Depths (as Scott Andrews put it here, it was pretty much WoW's ultimate dungeon) and the combined Upper/Lower Blackrock Spire. What was always really amazing about the spire was how it all connected - you could kill General Drakkisath, and then realize you were essentially standing over a dizzying plummet that would see you land at the base of the spire. You could even physically fall out of the dungeon.

There's down sides to big, big dungeons like these, of course. A complete clear of BRD was as much of a chore as any raid, and could take as long if not longer - back in the day a BRD run was basically it, you were committed, it was what you were going to do all afternoon. So I guess what I'm asking is, do we miss sprawling dungeon complexes like these, or are they artifacts of the past we're better off without?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Will running five player content be viable in Warlords?

I actually really enjoy five player dungeons. One of my disappointments in Mists of Pandaria was that we never got any five mans beyond the start of the expansion and that they basically became just a means to farm some valor - since no new fives were introduced, they couldn't be tuned to in any way keep up with gear from Throne of Thunder much less Siege of Orgrimmar. They became laughably easy unless you were running them as Challenge Modes, ultimately.

And this bothers me because I'm one of those people who feels like five player content never really had lived up to its promise in World of Warcraft. Especially now that raid dungeons have become so accessible, with LFR and flex making it easier than ever for almost all players to get some level of raiding if they want it, I've always felt like fives need a refocusing. Having normal and heroic difficulty fives really separate with better rewards for fives is a good start, but where Challenge Modes didn't grab me was in their completely cosmetic rewards. I always felt like CM's should offer gear on par with at least normal mode raiding - a group that decided to focus exclusively on Challenge Modes or some other form of very hard five player content should be able to progress their character not just visually, but actually as well.

Why do I feel this way? Well, I'll tell you.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard cancels Titan

Well, it's official - Blizzard has stopped all work on their mystery next-gen MMO Titan. The never announced project is as dead as Starcraft Ghost. In the interview with Polygon Mike Morhaime says that Blizzard 'didn't find the fun' and that they attempted something very ambitious only for it to never really come together. Chris Metzen states that the decision to pull back was 'excruciating' -

"We were trying to do the right thing and build the right, smart product, and keep it all moving," Metzen said. "The opportunity to get that perspective and dust off a little bit, scraped knees and all, stand back up and reevaluate as a team, as leaders, as a culture - it was a big blessing."

We reported last year when Titan went back to the drawing board - seems like it may have been a victim of Blizzard's desire to really only focus on the one MMO. When asked about supporting World of Warcraft, Metzen said "My hope personally is that we'll support it forever." Alas, Titan, we never knew ye.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

Breakfast Topic: Will you reroll for Warlords?

To answer the question posed by the headline, I'm not going to reroll for this coming expansion. But every expansion I've seen since The Burning Crusade I've seen people reroll. People reroll for lots of different reasons - they feel their class is weaker now, they're bored, there's a new class introduced (so not this time for this reason), they want to switch roles and their current class doesn't tank or heal or isn't a pure DPS class, or they feel like the class they are currently playing isn't as good at what they're doing than another class. The start of an expansion is often seen as the best time to make this kind of switch, because everyone's leveling up anyway and we're all on an even footing for a while.

There's also the old fashioned way to switch servers or factions - back before you could pay to move a character, I often rolled a new one just to play with friends on a different server or faction, and it's still the cheapest way to do that. My tauren warrior wouldn't exist without it.

With all the systems changes and item stat squishes it seems like now might be the best possible time to get on with a reroll. Are you planning to make a change?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

How will Warlords affect low-level characters?

It's something that's fairly easy to forget in all the talk of item squishes and character boosts, but Warlords of Draenor is going to make a lot of significant changes to how it feels to play a low level character and level up. That's why forum threads like this one interest me so much, because it's important to get that low level balance right. Yes, we have the boost, we have things like heirlooms, but in the end the game has to function at low levels for people without them. If it doesn't or can't, then people who try the game on trial or who decide to start an alt after using the boost are going to end up feeling lost, and that's a feeling that leads to people not playing at all.

So I decided to roll a low level character and level him without heirlooms on the beta, just to try it out for myself. And so far, I feel like they've made pretty decent strides in balancing things out - I'm at level 7 now after a half hour and I could probably get to ten after another 20 minutes. I am, however, concerned with what Kalyeatrish says about the level 8-9 relative weak spot in leveling. If players can't get stuff done at those levels, it'll be a hard slog to get to 10. And most people who try out WoW don't get past 10 - that's a barrier to entry you don't want to imbalance when you make game changes.

Hopefully it's something Blizzard keeps watching, and I hope everyone in the beta manages to find time to roll a character and test it out at low levels - it may seem like a waste of time, but it's actually incredibly important for the game long term.

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

Breakfast Topic: So Many Feelings

This is a spoiler free post about spoilers. And how those spoilers can make you feel. I'm warning you, even though I intend to spoil nothing at all, so you can avoid the post if you'd rather.

This has been the expansion beta test where I constantly find myself forgetting that the Horde storyline exists. I say this having played it. It's not that the orcs of Draenor aren't interesting or cool, it's that I simply just do not care because there's draenei lore to explore, draenei settlements to visit, draenei to watch being awesome in cinematics. If you watched the recent cinematics Blizzard released, you'll know what I mean. If you didn't, you'll have to take my word for it - there are some awesome draenei moments to be had. It's gotten me so pumped I resumed work on my draenei-themed transmog, which you can see above on the beta. Having watched the cinematics, I'm now incredibly ready for Warlords, but I have no idea if I'll even bother to play Horde. As cool as the Frostfire Ridge ending is, the Shadowmoon Valley one dwarfs it, and Talador? Talador actively made me upset, something that hasn't happened to me in World of Warcraft in a very long time.

This is the draenei expansion. The orcs? Well, they're here. They're villains for the most part. I'm not impressed. But the draenei? Oh yeah. Y'rel, just point the way. Let's go wreck the Iron Horde.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: If WoW had romance options

One of the things I liked about the old Baldur's Gate games (especially BGII, my all-time favorite) and their modern-day successors the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series is their romance options. You don't have to play with romance in mind -- in fact, when I play Dragon Age, I absolutely don't romance anyone, it's just how I roll in the DA franchise - but it's a well-designed feature and something I enjoyed, especially as it got more inclusive. It's a good mechanic for letting players see a little of themselves and their personal existence in the larger game world without forcing everyone to see it, since it's easy enough to not pursue.

And now I think it's time for WoW to steal the heck out of that idea. For example, Yrel. Let us all date Yrel. Or Drek'thar, or Liadrin. Make certain awesome NPC's available in our garrisons and let us pursue completely fictional romances with them to help introduce story elements you can't get any other way. We could have special quests just from our significant other, chains that helped flesh out the world we're exploring.

Okay, I admit it, I just want to let rogues date Vanessa Van Cleef. She's had a rough life. Druids could maybe talk Fandral Staghelm or Leyara down?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Warlords of Draenor: Blizzard releases all in-game cinematics

If you've been playing in the beta one of the things you've noticed is that there's a host of in-game cinematics that haven't actually been there yet. If you're wondering what they are, wonder no more - Blizzard just released a whole host of them on the official site. They're all excellent - one of them actually made this old draenei tear up a bit - but don't watch those and then complain that you were spoiled for the next expansion because that's all there is here - nothing but 100% spoilers for what's going to be happening in Warlords of Draenor.

So, if you want to avoid that, don't go to that link and absolutely don't watch any of those videos. But if you do want that, here you go. It's really some amazing work on the part of Terran Gregory and the entire Blizzard in-game cinematics division.

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