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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.

Breakfast Topic: In my day...

I tend to be stridently anti-nostalgia when I play World of Warcraft. One of the things I absolutely hate is when people try and tell me something was better back in the day, whether it's class mechanics, raids, dungeons, the world at large, pretty much anything. But I'm still human - the game is always going to be tinted by the memories I have of when I first started playing and it was all brand new.

So this morning I'll indulge - to me, the launch dungeons will always feel more like WoW than any dungeons that have come after them. To this day, I still love Dire Maul, Maraudon (yes, even with its ridiculous internal layout), Stratholme, Upper and Lower Blackrock Spire, Sunken Temple (pre-redesign, when you could get lost in there for hours) and Blackrock Depths. Sure, they were often long, confusing slogs and I don't want a dungeon that massive - it would take too long to run. But I still go to BRD to this day, just to hang out in the bar. I still climb around inside LBRS and drop down from the entrance directly to fall out of the dungeon entirely just because I can.

So yeah, that's my bit of rose-coloring. The dungeons were better in vanilla. What's yours?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Queue: Surfing to Karabor

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! Woo! Imagine me jumping out of a plane now without a chute, like Keanu in Point Break.

mightbechris says:
I thing to Sylvanas no, she doesn't do wrong. She an undead being. She has a long history of both combat and watching her people suffer. I can't fault any action she's taken. She isn't a good person by any stretch, but she protects her subjects and kingdom. Given her history I think she's justified in her actions. She's also a Horde faction leader.

Am I the only one that wishes the Horde was ok with being the bad guys? I know when I role play any or my Horde toons I don't feel right if they have a grounded moral compass.

I don't really understand the first part of your question/statement. Sylvanas isn't wrong to invade neighboring countries and murder people with disease because she's undead? That's pretty flexible morality. By that standard, nothing Arthas did was wrong, including murdering Sylvanas and the people of Lordaeron in the first place. I mean, he was a servant of the Lich King, and then because the Lich King himself, so it's okay that he freed his people from suffering by rendering them all walking corpses, right?

Being undead, being a Horde faction leader, even being someone who's seen a lot of suffering and combat, none of this excuses anyone from their actions. Garrosh was a Horde faction leader, and he grew up on the shattered remnants of a world we call Outland, believing himself damned due to the actions of his bloodthirsty father. We still have little difficulty calling what he did wrong.

As for the Horde being the bad guys - I think the Horde has been established as more 'morally grey' than out and out bad guys in its World of Warcraft version. The Old Horde? Total bad guys. The Horde as bad guys is such a useful trope that we keep getting other Hordes to fight, like Garrosh's True Horde and Iron Horde.

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Filed under: The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Gray Text

I didn't think I would like the new system where gear has all kinds of stats on it and the ones you can use in your current spec/class are white, and the ones you can't use are greyed out. It's kind of fascinating how I now thing it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. Running around on a druid in starter greens, these boots would have been an upgrade - sadly, they dropped for my warrior and soulbound immediately on pickup. Le sad. Still, I really like this change to gear - no more 'do any of our six paladins need these' and then a quick trip to the disenchanter.

So how do you feel about it? Awesome change? You hate it? You don't care? Why would you hate it, it's so awesome, sometimes I don't get you.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

US Connected Realms update for July 15th

Another update to the Realm Connection list has been made, with realms scheduled to be connected on the 17th and 24th of July. As is always the case, these connections will take place on Thursdays, and are scheduled to occur between 5:00 AM PDT and 1:00 PM PDT.

This month's scheduled realm connections are:
  • Thursday, July 17th
    • Dawnbringer and Madoran
    • Zuluhed and Andorhal, Scilla, and Ursin
  • Thursday, July 24th
    • Deathwing and Executus, Kalecgos, and Shattered Halls
    • Gilneas and Elune
Also on the list but not scheduled yet are Malfurion and Trollbane, and The Venture Co and Maelstrom. As a player, I hope these go without a hitch as my main is on Elune.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Realm Status, Blizzard

Know Your Lore: Stranger in your homeland

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.

I kind of want to change gears this week. I assume if you read this column, you have a passing interest in Warcraft's lore and story. So instead of picking apart the Shadowmoon Valley or Frostfire Ridge experiences from a lore perspective (and believe me, I'll be doing that in the future) I thought we could take a look at what it feels like to play through both starting zones as a member of the race that dominates the experience. This column will be about the disconnect of playing through Tanaan and SMV as a draenei -- there will be a follow up about the experience of playing through Tanaan and Frostfire as an orc. Spoilers are likely unavoidable. So from this point on, be aware of them.

For me this is one of Warlords' big strengths as a story, the way the characters are in a place that's familiar, but not too familiar. Even if you're playing a tauren or undead in Frostfire or a gnome or dwarf in SMV, it's possible to have that feeling of almost but not quite when you go there. I think it's stronger in Shadowmoon for a variety of reasons -- it's a classic BC zone (Frostfire seems to be half of the Blade's Edge Mountains) and there are quite a few moments where you feel a sense of twisted, broken recognition - the fact that the Alliance player garrison seems to be almost right on top of where the Horde starting base in the zone was, the first time you approach Karabor and see the structure dominating the region.

But playing a draenei, it's another step into the weird. Because here are your people, and yet, they don't recognize you.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: You can't go home again

One of the things that playing in the Warlords of Draenor beta has done is it has made me really appreciative of small things and their cumulative effect. In terms of the story of Shadowmoon Valley, the ultimate effect of all the small touches is to give you (if you want it -- if you're the type who doesn't read quest text and doesn't pay attention to in game events and cinematics) the effect of a slowly dawning realization. Especially as a draenei player, by the time you finish with Shadowmoon Valley you'll realize that not only can't you go home, you didn't -- Draenor isn't the same place you come from.

It's really well done, it's very subtle -- even for Horde players, there are constant little moments that tweak the status quo you remember from books like Rise of the Horde. I like how it's playing out.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Will we see a valor cap change?

Recently on twitter, Bashiok raised my hopes with a simple tweet.

Because frankly, this late into the expansion, getting an alt fully geared up should be something we can do at whatever pace we want. I get Bashiok's point about how it's not as easy as just flipping a switch, but frankly, I don't think the current valor cap serves much of a purpose. The weekly/total caps of 1000/3000 serve a gatekeeping role that was much more important back in Mists of Pandaria's salad days, when the content was new and we were concerned about getting metaphoric tummyaches.

Now, it's the equivalent of leftovers, and if people want to just pile on those leftovers, we should be applauding their efforts and letting them. I say, remove the weekly cap entirely, raise the total cap to 4000 and let people run wild if they so desire. Treat valor as a buffet. (I may have been hungry when I started thinking about this issue.) We'll see a complete redesign to Valor in Warlords anyway, so might as well just relax the gateway for now.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

The Queue: The Dark Star

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.

Am I the only one who keeps hearing 'The Dark Star' as some kind of Dio song in his head? Just me? Man, it totally sounds like some kind of weird late 70's/early 80's metal song to me.

CatrionaShadowleaf asks:
"Lost love"? Does Aggra get stuffed into a refrigerator so that Thrall can be an emotionally conflicted bachelor again?

As far as I know, Aggra shows up in Nagrand and she's fine.

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Filed under: The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Argus

As much as I love Warlords of Draenor's focus on draenei and draenei culture, I'm very much interested in the world the draenei originally come from, the world of Argus. Especially when we're told several times that the draenei crystalline magical technology worked better there - that they had vast cities, an elaborate and storied magical culture so amazing that it attracted the attention of Sargeras the fallen Titan himself. I've wanted to get to see Argus for years, ever since I ran into members of the Argus Wake outside of Alterac.

What does the planet look like now? Is it a blasted ruin, or do its towers still rise imposing, as the bastions of the eredar warlocks? I'm just totally nuts about the idea of getting to see it all. As much as I'm jazzed for Draenor, part of me wishes we'd gone to Argus instead.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Artcraft previews the male draenei model

It's no secret that I love the draenei -- with getting a chance to play through Shadowmoon Valley on the Beta, they've leapt into the lead and are now my favorite race. Now, thanks to Blizzard's official Artcraft previews, we get a chance to look at the new draenei male. Having experienced it on the beta (as a work in progress, mind you) I already felt like it was a vast improvement. The proportions, the expressions, even the way the facial tendrils move is much, much better.

Head on over to the official site and take a look for yourself.

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