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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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

The Level 3 Storehouse will be mine on January 31, 2017


As we play through Draenor and start getting a closer look at things, we're able to better tell how the systems will play out. One of the more interesting, and new, dynamics in the game is the garrisons -- they're giving advancement paths that haven't existed in WoW before, and as with anything, the first release of these advancement paths tends to be a bit... bumpy.

Take, for instance, the level 3 Storehouse. For those of you who haven't looked into this building yet, it provides you with bank access and +5 work orders at tier 1, guild bank access at tier 2, and finally transmogrification and void storage access at tier 3. Quite the useful building to have in your town. Couple that with a close-by auction house that you can make and you've got yourself a very ideal place to wage your economic transactions.

Tier 1 and Tier 2 are purchasable, so it's not a big deal to get those. As with all tier 3 plans, however, you need to do something else. These particular plans are tied to the achievement Got Money on My Draenor Mind. You need to loot 10,000 gold in Draenor to get the achievement. And that looting means very strictly picking up the gold from dead monsters. Not from selling items, not from lucrative garrison missions, not from quests -- just picking up gold from dead monsters.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: The professional grind

WoW's professions have changed a lot between Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor, making professions perhaps as easy as they've ever been for both leveling and crafting. Catch-up methods have made professions easier to level from zero while garrisons give us the ability to have limited access to any profession even if we didn't bother (or didn't have the profession slot) to level it.

But while professions have always been a grind, I find the removal of the grind to be nearly as much of a problem. While professions may be much more streamlined, a lot of the variety has been removed, too: there are fewer items to craft (due to a removal of low-quality craftables that were rarely used) and the things you can craft typically require a large quantity of a single material rather than sending you on an epic quest to gather bits and pieces from around the world. In theory, I like making crafting more straightforward. But in practice, it means crafting is reduced to pressing a single button to create work orders for days (or weeks) until you can finally create something. The new system may be easier, but it seems a lot less interesting, too.

So tell me, readers: just what do you think of professions in Warlords? Are you enjoying the new way of crafting, with the ease of gathering and queuing up work orders from your garrison? Or do you find yourself nostalgic for crafting systems past?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

The Queue: Garrisons, bladefists, and Blackrocks

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

As is often the case with Monday editions of The Queue, we might be a bit brief today.

Benjamin Seeberger asked:

What's the max number of followers you can have? What happens when I want another follower but have no more room? What should I do!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

Sunday Morning Funnies: A shocker for sure

Gnomeregan Forever
Sunday Morning Funnies is your weekly list of WoW-related web comics.

This week, in comics: Targe bursts into song. A grumpusaurus appears. Linola does a new Q&A. Richard solves a puzzle. Plus: Gogogo!

In comic news this week, we have a new addition to the list! The Warcraft Hero, by Mike Minotti, is actually a comic that we featured here for quite awhile, before it ended. If you're interested (and I recommend it!), you can check out the comic from the beginning. Bonus: Although Mike originally revived the comic as a one-time-only special, he has decided to start it up again. It will update Fridays, and be featured here weekly!

We also have a few new WoW-related comics from PvP on the list this week. Thanks for the tip, JereHunter!

Also on the list this week, Gnomeregan Forever features both a new update on the Shattershore storyline, and some bonus wallpaper, which just so happens to feature Faramir the cat. Plus, Trigonometry Comics has a special character guide up, which doubles as a showcase for the new character models. I love Rug's attitude in her entry!

I jokingly predicted, last week, that this week's list would contain gags about wait times and disconnects, and it certainly does. I knew that our resident entertainers and storytellers would meet frustration with humor and creativity. What I didn't anticipate were the more heartfelt responses; check out Surviving Azeroth (the text below the comic) and Kibble & Bit to see what I mean!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Humor, Comics, Sunday Morning Funnies

WRUP: Playing those level 100 blues

So Warlords of Draenor has been out for a week, which means many of us have started to hit level 100 and gear up for the end-game grind. Or have we? Tis the season for new game releases, and console titles like Dragon Age: Inquisition have a strong draw for WoW Insider's RPG-loving crew. But there's still plenty to do in Draenor, plus the 10th anniversary content is just getting fired up. So what's a gamer to do?

Spoiler alert: we're still (mostly) playing WoW. But to see what exactly the team is getting into in WoW (and otherwise), as well as letting us know what you're playing this weekend, read on!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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

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

Rygarius clarifies Draenor's Secret Power hotfix

One of the recent hotfixes was to the Draenor's Secret Power quest. Before the hotfix, players were able to complete the three heroic dungeons and turn in the quest items for the next stage in the legendary quest chain, getting an ilevel 680 ring in the process, because they were not required to complete the 4986 Apexis Crystals requirement first.
Rygarius - Sooo you're letting them keep the rings?
Here to provide additional clarification on the hotfix note that went out yesterday, November 17.

Quests
Draenor's Secret Power: Completion of this quest is now required before being able to move onto the next step of the Legendary quest chain. For characters that skipped this quest, completion of this quest has also been made into a requirement before being eligible for the next upgrade.

This means players that skipped the quest will still have to complete Draenor's Secret Power before being eligible for the next upgrade. That last part wasn't included until now cause I was tunnel visioning on hotfixes and glossed over the supplemental email for the change. Hope this clears any confusion up.


If you have the ring, you'll be keeping it, but people who haven't yet upgraded will have to wait until they have the apexis crystals. Since raids won't be open until December, this is (to my eyes, anyway) a minor advantage for a few players. Going any further in the quest still costs that 4986 Apexis Crystals.


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

Complete Bronze Proving Grounds, get your weapon

Of course the first thing we want to do upon hitting level 100 is to start gearing up. And we want to run heroics, which means getting a silver in proving grounds. Well, while you're at it, don't miss this quest, given in your Garrison by Lieutenant Thorn if you're Alliance, and Warmaster Zog if you're Horde. It's a good way to get your hands on a solid 610 weapon (almost as good as an heirloom at level 100) and, if you get lucky and get an epic instead of a blue, it's actually ilevel 630 and better than the heirloom weapons from Garrosh.

I did Bronze as DPS first, and found it to be pretty easy. It's basically a free weapon as good as a dungeon drop, with a chance to be as good as a heroic dungeon drop. Since you're going to want to be able to queue for heroics anyway, there's no reason not to get it done.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: Exploration, garrison resources, and more

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

After the long drought, we now have a deluge of Warlords of Draenor questions. And I couldn't be happier.

ArthurN asked:

Is there supposed to be an easy way for Horde to get into Shadowmoon Valley? I had a Garrison quest to tame an animal in Shadowmoon Valley. I made it in, even picked up a flight path with the Shadowmoon Exiles (they were yellow to me instead of red like everyone else in the zone). But I had to run around the coastline a bit to find some passable beach. The only way in by land that I found was guarded by Alliance. Am I missing something? And is it similarly tricky for Alliance to get into Frostfire Ridge?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Sunday Morning Funnies: Great cogs!

Gratz Solace
Sunday Morning Funnies is your weekly list of WoW-related web comics.

This week, in comics: Giant window of death. A farce. A boop. Queues. Plus: Start packing!

In comic news, we have a lot of pre-expansion comic content happening this week, as many of the comics were done up before the expansion landed. By next week, some of the comics that tend to stick to current topics will be showing some of the new content. Or, you know, lags, queues, and disconnects-related gags?

Guilded Age has some new fan art, but didn't quite manage to feature as many pages as usual, due to technical difficulties that will hopefully be resolved in time for next week's listing.

If you haven't yet checked out the returned and altered Surviving Azeroth, you should definitely give it a go this week! It's a great entry point to the new style, and timely too.

Last week, I noted that two of our comic creators have been ill. Luckily, Jenn of Best in Slot is feeling much better, and there's a new comic up. Unfortunately, Russell is still not feeling well, although he did manage to post one Experience Boost, because he rocks. Feel better, Russell!

However, there is some excellent news: Kibble & Bit has posted seven updates. Seven. Go read them!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Humor, Comics, Sunday Morning Funnies

WRUP: Welcome to Warlords edition

It's the first weekend of Warlords of Draenor, and after the long wait for the expansion to arrive, Team WoW Insider -- and, probably, all of you -- are pretty excited about getting their playtime in and rushing to max level. So we're up to this weekend probably won't surprise you: we're playing Warlords. But for the specifics on what in-game antics we're up to and what we've enjoyed the most along the way, read on.

And, of course, feel free to speak up in the comments below, telling us just what you're up to in-game this weekend -- as well as what your favorite part of the expansion is so far.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor's launch failure and where responsibility lies

This is an editorial; an opinion piece by a member of WoW Insider's staff.

The last 36 hours have not been kind to Blizzard. They've encountered a number of problems at all levels of their technical and gameplay infrastructure. In the grand books of game launches, this isn't how they, or anyone, would want things to go -- it's been the opposite of smooth and reliable. While it's hard to say if the worst is over (although I'll say it anyway), what we do know is Blizzard has been working nonstop to fix every problem.

Yesterday the server engineers didn't go home. The community managers didn't leave. Developers were cranking out hotfixes at seven o'clock in the evening. From my vantage point as an observer of this company, they were firing on all cylinders well after the close of business. Was it enough? No, not by a long shot.

But let's clear a few things up. Blizzard has their share of responsibility for what happened, but they also are not responsible for the idiocy of the criminal behavior of the DDoS attack.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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