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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

The Queue: Let's make things awkward

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.

I've started far too many Queues with grumblings about Mondays, but ... let's grumble about Mondays.

Mer asked:

Have they given Mystic Birdhat on the back of my (very expensive) Grand Caravan Yak a new job yet since he won't be reforging anymore?

Transmog!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

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

Sunday Morning Funnies: How delightful

Teh Gladiators
Sunday Morning Funnies is your weekly list of WoW-related web comics.

This week, in comics: Everything is so orange. Socializing is the worst. One partnership is broken up, and another is formed. Plus: Richard has a diary (and a purse).

Also, Fox Rain has hit 100 pages! Congratulations, Jenn!

Several of our sporadically updating comics did not post new content this week, so we're missing WoW, eh? and Sara & Kleeyo, as well as Kibble & Bit. And, if you missed the announcement last week, From Draenor With Love is on a brief hiatus to prepare for Chapter 4 (which I'm pretty sure has a dragon).

However, The Brotherhood of Iron, Rug's new comic, which will update sporadically as well, has new content up, which includes Keran from Experience Boost. Plus, Gnomeregan Forever has posted an extra featuring a Kibble & Bit crossover! We also have content from the two new comics that joined us last week, The Warchief's Command Board and Gnomophobia, so there's plenty to read. But, if you're finding the list a bit light, why not check out the Clickware storyline on NPC? It isn't WoW-related, but I mean, Chloe encounters the clickbaitiest of ads, and it's worth the read.

Also this week, Teh Gladiators concludes, although this won't be the last time it's featured here. Next week, there should be Hearthstone-related content, and if you're curious, the text below the final comic gives some more details.

Finally, I'd like to correct a minor error I made last week. Contested Territory (not Gnomeregan Forever) switched up its line style subtly, which is getting some great feedback from readers.

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

WRUP: How many legendary cloaks do you need?

It's the weekend once more, which means it's time to forget about the stresses of the work-week and dive into the delightful escapism of video games... which usually means playing some Warcraft. This week, we're all looking towards the end of Mist of Pandaria's legendary cloak quest chain, so in addition to what we're playing this weekend, we talk about where we are on our legendary goals.

So just what is the team up to this weekend? Read on to find out -- and let us know what you're playing in the comments.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

The Queue: Who needs a title with that picture?

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.

I'm glad I waited until the wee hours of the morning to write today's Queue. If I didn't, I wouldn't have been able to use that picture of Zarhym as today's header, courtesy of Ben Brode's Twitter.

Benjamin Seeberger asked:

with the introduction of Warlords of Draenor and the retirement of the legendary quest in its entirety, are new players going to have any clue who Wrathion is, unless they are rogues? Will his storyline make any sense in Mists when the legendary questline is taken out? Will the Timeless Isle make any sense? How will the departure of the questline impact Pandaria's storyline?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

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

Lords of War focuses on Kilrogg Deadeye

In case you were wondering, Kilrogg Deadeye absolutely is possibly the most ruthless Warlord we've seen yet in these animated shorts. Without spoiling the above video (go ahead and watch it) it's got interesting bits in it - the arakkoa make an appearance, we get to see Kilrogg's father, and the actual ritual where the infamous Deadeye earns his name is shown. It's a fascinating glimpse into the culture of the Bleeding Hollow clan and Kilrogg's role in it.

I think this might be my favorite of the four videos so far. It's plausible that Maraad might know this - there's no reason it should be unchanged between his Draenor and the one we're going to explore. But moreover, and suitably, it's the darkest of the four to date, which Kilrogg making a very difficult decision that costs him quite dearly... and more than an eye.

I also like the rumination on the Alliance's faith in the Light at the opening. Varian's 'So I'm told' was a nice beat. Check out the video now.

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

Warlords of Draenor Beta - Legend of Pandaria title introduced

As reported on Wowhead, if you've completed the legendary cloak questline before patch 6.0 drops, you'll be rewarded with a new title, Legend of Pandaria. It's like most titles in that it can be used even by characters that didn't earn it (I've only earned it on one character, and that isn't him above) so if you have managed to complete the quest, it's a nice little bonus.

I'd still kind of like it if they allowed us to complete the quest once Warlords of Draenor dropped if we had already started it, but I won't say no to another title. I love those things. Nothing's ever going to beat Death's Demise, though. Still my favorite title ever.

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

Patch 6.0.2: PvP season 15 ends

In the spirit of get it done soon that we see getting more and more prevalent as patch 6.0.2 gets closer, here's some news about PvP Season 15. Namely, it's ending as soon as the patch drops.

This means several things - there will be no Arenas or Rated BG's after the patch, all Conquest Points will be converted to Honor, with excess Honor above 4000 points being converted to gold.

Blizzard - Patch 6.0.2 PTR Patch Notes
  • PvP Season 15 comes to an end with the launch of Patch 6.0.2. (Date has not been determined yet.)
    • Conquest Points will be converted into Honor Points, and any Honor above the cap of 4,000 will be converted into in-game currency at a rate of 35 silver per point.
    • Season 15 items will have Conquest costs converted into Honor Points equivalent to their previous Conquest Point cost, with the exception of any items that have a rating requirement.
    • Season 15 items with rating requirements will no longer be available for purchase.
    • Note that Arena and Rated Battleground matches will not be available until PvP Season 16 begins.

So there you have it - the upcoming end for Season 15 is as soon as the patch itself (which we still have no date for) and when it comes, the usual conversions will commence. If you're trying to hit a certain rating, you have been warned.

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

Mythic raid testing this Friday, September 19th

If you happen to have a group of, say, 20 folks to hand and you want to test out what Mythic Raiding is going to be all about, then rejoice, for you'll have that opportunity. Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas had once again revealed to us the schedule for the next batch of raid testing, this time for Mythic difficulty. We're looking at two encounters in Mythic difficulty Blackrock Foundry, Beastlord Darmac at 10:30 Pacific and Iron Maidens at 15:00 Pacific (that's 3 PM for those of us not on military time).

Note that you don't have to be on a level 100 character to take part in the testing. Your level will be scaled up and your gear as well, so you can take part with a full group of 90's if that's what you have. Also remember, this is the beta - there could be any number of issues that delay or postpone beta testing of Mythic raiding. Don't get overexcited if that happens.

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

Never enough time

One of the absurdities of playing an MMO for any length of time, much less for ten years, is that you see certain cycles repeat again and again. For instance, I've seen players make the same assumptions about personal experiences in the game being universal so many times that I could republish that post every two weeks and it would be relevant. Another way I've seen the same cycle repeat multiple times since the end of Burning Crusade is this - people always complain (myself included) that the expansion is taking too long to get here and we're sick of the old content, and then, as soon as the new expansion is announced, we start panicking (myself included) to get certain things finished that we could have done long, long before the expansion ever got close to done.

I mean, I have six characters on various stages of the legendary cloak quest, that I just never bothered to finish up on because reasons. I don't think I can argue I haven't had enough time. It's September. Nine months seems more than adequate to have gotten that done, and yet, nope. Just never bothered to do it. In a way I feel like the extreme length of the content drought lulled me into a false complacency. A year in SoO seemed so monumentally long that it never really sank in that yes, it is long - but it still had an end date.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard debuts Engineer's Workshop

It's always interesting to get more behind the scenes about how World of Warcraft is created, and Blizzard is doing exactly that with the all-new Engineer's Workshop series of posts. This week's column is about anti-aliasing and the new technology Blizzard is using to help evolve the game engine and update it going forward. Keep in mind, World of Warcraft is a ten year old game, and graphic updates like these are necessarily planned out to keep the game's look from sliding into obsolescence.

I admit I'm no expert on the technology being discussed, but if you are, here's a nice summary to get you started on explaining the whole thing to me in the comments. Use small words.


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

The main is dead! Long live the main!


In answering a question for The Queue today I realized something; my main is dead, your main is dead, all of our mains are dead. The character that we played the most and distinguished from our alts is no longer a thing. Death Wing didn't kill them, nor did any of Ragnaros' appearances. What killed the main was WoW itself, and its death has been slow and painful.

Along with the death of our mains has come the death of identity in WoW; or at least the severe dilution of that identity. When we lack a single point of reference for Self, we no longer have a tie to reality in which all actions and speech are connected to. This presents a problem at multiple levels, and it's interesting to explore why we got here, what here actually means, and what, if any, solutions there are.

Now if that wasn't vague enough, I don't know what is. Let's dive into things a bit.

How and Why We Lost the Concept of a Main
My main character used to be the one that I play most. I'd stick with it through the thick of things, when I didn't want to run raids anymore, when I didn't want to PvP anymore, when I didn't want to farm mats anymore. I did it on my main and I never deviated. During this time my identity online was connected to this one character (Osullivan, on the realm Eldre'thalas, US). There were things that happened with me where my reputation preceded me, good and bad. My main was who I was.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

BlizzCon and the expansion after Warlords

The Queue has received a number of questions about expansion timing, and while we have no answers, it is a situation we find interesting. Warlords of Draenor launches the week after BlizzCon 2014. In recent months, Blizzard has been reiterating their goal of releasing the next expansion more quickly. More specifically, Tom Chilton has mentioned in recent interviews that Warlords of Draenor may have only two total raid tiers, with the next expansion landing a year or a year-and-a-half after Warlords. For the sake of discussion, let's assume Blizzard will actually accomplish their timeline goals in this development cycle.

If Warlords does have two raid tiers that last six months each, the next expansion releasing one year after Warlords, could we be in for a surprise at this year's BlizzCon? Announcing the expansion to follow Warlords before it has even launched doesn't make much sense -- marketing wouldn't want to undercut themselves. It simply wouldn't make sense to hype the next-next big thing before the next big thing has even hit the shelves. If BlizzCon 2014 did not announce an expansion on this timeline, however, when would it be announced?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, BlizzCon

Warlords of Draenor: Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas on healing in dungeons

Dungeons can be tricky to balance. Too easy, and everything turns into a 'go go go' zergdown. Too hard, and no one wants to run them. This is of course subject to change as gear and skill and familiarity all increase, of course. But it's a topic that Ion Hazzikostas recently took up on the forums. One of the things people have been concerned about is the change to how healing works, and Ion discussed it and why they made the changes. Basically, it came down to the idea that with mana regen effectively not a factor in Mists, the only way to kill players in raids was with massive spikes of damage that required immediate reaction from healers to survive.
Our goal is not to make healing more difficult. Note that nowhere in the above did I say that a problem with Mists healing is that it was too "easy." We want to slow down the pace a bit, and for the challenge in healing to lie more in making decisions about spell usage and targeting, and less in twitch-reaction and sustaining a DPS-style rotation. This also means that the cost of a mistake is not a dead player, but rather a more injured one, giving you a chance to fix your error.
So what does this have to do with dungeon tuning? Quite a bit, as it turns out. Dungeons are being tested on the beta now (I've recently gotten to run Auchindoun and Shadowmoon Burial Grounds) and when they're tested, your level is adjusted to the bare minimum necessary to run said dungeons. This of course means that players are testing the content at its lowest possible threshold, because it has to function for players in the minimum gear to get into the door. And this leads to issues with healing, because the dungeons aren't final yet. It's an interesting job, beta testing. Often, stuff doesn't work - that's why you test it.

We've reproduced Watcher's post in full after the cut. For the most part, I'm interested to see if Blizzard actually succeeds with their goal of slowing down healing.

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

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