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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

The Queue: Hard labor

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 didn't sleep much last night and it's supposed to be a holiday here in the US. Let's just do this thing.

@EctoMaster asked:

Blizzard has said there will not be an alt-azeroth exploration but, what do think u think became of our world in alt-draenor?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

Sunday Morning Funnies: So cardboardy

Guilded Age
Sunday Morning Funnies is your weekly list of WoW-related web comics.

This week, in comics: A limerick, a task to impart wisdom, a leap of faith, missed experiences, an ending. Plus: Owltupus!

In comic news this week, Erik of Away From Reality will be working on a new project! It is called Father's Shield, and will update every Wednesday. There's more information linked in the list, as well as the first comic, but it will be more serious than Away From Reality and not connected to its characters.

Gratz also recently started a new project, called Solace. In addition, Lackinganame surpassed 500 posted comic pages this week (across all books of Gratz and including the new Solace pages). Congratulations, and thanks for all the hard work bringing us entertainment each week!

Russell Brooks of Experience Boost will be attending a convention this week (Dragon Con), and so there may be fewer updates to post next week.

A few of our sporadically updating comics did not update this week, including WoW, eh? and Kibble & Bit, and Teh Gladiators should appear next week. However, Sara & Kleeyo has new content up, and NPC has a new Hearthstone storyline. Contested Territory updated with two pages, which is a nice bonus.

Ready for the comics? There might not be any corgis (like last week), but we do have a half gator!

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

The incredible aging demographic

Let me put it on the line - LFR and Flexible raid sizes are the most important raiding experiences currently available in World of Warcraft, and the upcoming Mythic 20 person raid difficulty is an atavism, barely even an appendix, that only a vanishing few players will experience when it is current. It exists for a sense of achievement and prestige that only a few players really have the time for anymore, and every year, that group of players gets smaller.

The reason for this is simple - as Tom Chilton put it, the demographic is getting older over time. People like me who played for the raid game back in classic are older. They have jobs, kids, schedules that don't permit the kind of time investment hard modes currently demand, the kind Mythic will demand. And it's not that you can't do cutting edge raiding in, say, six hours a week. I'm not arguing that you will have to put in 20 hours a week to do Mythic. I'm arguing that even scheduling one or two nights a week and being there reliably is actually really hard when you have other commitments that can often demand your time on a moment's notice - in essence. being able to go when you want/need to raid instead of when the group is scheduled to go is a huge boon to that aging demographic. For all the elitism, all the sneering, and all the slurs directed at the LFR player base, the feature allows people who love raiding but who can no longer commit to scheduled WoW play a place to do it.

You can ask if this is healthy for the game as a whole - whether or not your answer is yes or no, though, there is no escaping this simple fact. WoW is a decade old. Many of us playing it have been here for years now. Even players who started in Wrath or Cataclysm have now been playing for years. This is an aging game with aging players, this is the reality of the situation. And this means that more adaptive raiding solutions are going to keep presenting themselves.

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

Tom Chilton: Blizzard had hoped to have Warlords out a couple of months ago

In a recent interview with Icy Veins, Tom Chilton talked about Warlords of Draenor and one of the things he mentioned that struck me immediately was that Blizzard was hoping to have Warlords out by now. Specifically, a few months ago.
We did a good job earlier in Mists of Pandaria, having the content come at a more frequent intervals, and certainly we had hoped to have Warlords of Draenor out a couple of months ago. The reality is that scaling up the number of people that we have, to work on multiple projects at once has slowed us down. Honestly, it should have not come as a surprise to us. We increased the size of the team by 50% and the majority of those people had never worked on World of Warcraft before or any other MMO, so it is really difficult for them to create content right away, without getting up to speed.
This echoes what other developers have said in interviews and it interests me because one of the things we've bemoaned is the huge drought in content between the end of Siege of Orgrimmar and now - if they'd intended to have Warlords out in June, that would have been a fairly reasonable amount of time for a new expansion, really. (September to June is 10 months, long, but much more reasonable) and the idea that just throwing people at development doesn't immediately bring more content because they have to learn what they're doing makes sense.

I still feel like it's been a heck of a dry spell, all things considered. I really would like to see the alternate timeline where Warlords released in June.

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

Know Your Lore: Alliances

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.

Unlike the Horde (as we discussed last week) there have really only been two Alliances. There was the Alliance of Lordaeron, formed by the human kingdoms of the northern parts of the Eastern Kingdoms, the Wildhammer dwarves and the refugees of Stormwind (and later joined by the dwarves of Khaz Modan, gnomes of Gnomeregan and the high elves of Silvermoon) - this Alliance ultimately died many small deaths as members left. Gilneas over the establishment of internment camps for orcs rather than simply exterminating them and the expense of maintaining Nethergarde Keep, Stromgarde over Thoras Trollbane's argument with Terenas Menethil over Trollbane's wish to simply execute all orc prisoners outright. The high elves of Quel'thalas left as soon as they reasonably could after the death of Anduin Lothar, since they originally only joined the Alliance due to an ancient oath to the Arathor bloodline, of which Anduin Lothar as the sole survivor.

It was the rise and fall of this Alliance, which came together fitfully, was nearly destroyed by betrayal, and ultimately died not from defections or secession but by the hand of the man born to rule one of its kingdoms that created its successor. To understand the Alliance of Lordaeron, we must understand the First and Second Wars.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore

Tom Chilton: "We are already in progress with our next expansion"

According to an interview with gameplanet.co.nz Blizzard isn't just working on Warlords of Draenor right now - they're in fact working hard on the next expansion, and have ideas for six or more future expansions they could do.

We are already in progress with our next expansion. We already have zones in production for it. Our next expansion after that, we have a couple of different options that we'll be choosing between over the next several months. Beyond that, there are about six or seven different ideas for expansions that we can take elements of and say, 'You know what? Let's take that and put it in this one for our next expansion after the next one.' Or we might shift the timelines around from what we originally envisioned. There's easily 10 years worth of stuff that we can draw from – more, really.

When I first heard that Warlords of Draenor will be coming out on November 13th, I wondered if that meant it would be all that Blizzard had to talk about at BlizzCon this year. Now that I've read this, I wonder if they'll have the fortitude to announce a new expansion before Warlords even comes out. As crazy as that sounds, if they're working six expansions deep, even if just conceptually, it's definitely a possibility.

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

The Queue: Time

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.

Today is one part serious, one part silly. Brace yourselves.

antiganon asked:

Did anyone else have a Queue to log in to the battle.net app on Sunday night?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

Sunday Morning Funnies: Grow, little melons

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

This week, in comics: New discoveries are made. School is in. Preparations are underway for moving to a new land. Plus: Flawless reasoning!

I hope you've all got your coffee brewed, your tea steeped, or your otherwise comforting drinks prepared, because we've got a lot of extras this week!

Several comics that update sporadically have posted. Massive Pwnage has a new WoW-related comic (that includes corgis!), and both Sara & Kleeyo and WoW, eh? updated, so be sure not to miss them!

Plus, Kibble & Bit updated twice, which is a real treat. One is the latest installment of "Pet Meets Pet", and the other is a special, which will be especially useful for anyone looking for a new guild (and perhaps server).

Gratz started its latest book last week, Solace, with some opening material. This week, the story kicks off in earnest with six whole pages!

There's also a lot happening at Gnomeregan Forever, including a new Extra, and two guest comics by Rug. One of these is heavy, and discusses suicide, depression, suicide prevention and Blizzard's decision (specifically, the timing of that decision) to memorialize Robin Williams. The other features the gang trolling an ERP'er, so you know -- something for everyone!

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

World of Warcraft as religious experience

How much of what we do in World of Warcraft matters, and how much does it matter? Can one be said to be engaging in a spiritual or religious experience when we play the game? Robert Geraci would seem to think we can at least start talking about that. Dr. Geraci is a professor of religious studies at Manhattan College, and his new book is about the interaction between the virtual worlds we inhabit (his current book discusses World of Warcraft and Second Life) and our inner lives. Dr. Geraci seems to be using WoW as a means to explore how we approach life itself, and how we can interact with it fundamentally in the same way we do our day to day, walking about lives.

it's just about virtual reality - in particular, virtual reality experiences that millions of people are seeking out. From a religious perspective, people are making their lives rich and meaningful and interesting in these virtual worlds. The grant project was to expand on that and say, 'Ok, in what other ways are virtual worlds meaningful for their participants?

The idea that what we do in game has an impact on our lives seems pretty irrefutable -- Dr. Geraci mentions how we make friendships in game that are as real to us as any we make outside of it (indeed, many in-game friendships quickly transcend the game they started in) and he discusses how the game presents concepts of morality, good vs. evil, environmentalism and so on. One could go further with his argument -- the nature of in-game interaction presents a kind of meta-contextual exploration of good social behavior, ultimately. The idea that 'it's just a game' vs. those that argue game or not, you're playing with real people for stakes that matter to them and how you behave in that situation has an impact. In other words, the evolution of in-game morality isn't limited merely to the game's storylines, but the players themselves develop a code of conduct, mores that govern and shape their behavior. Concepts like ninja-looting, PuG etiquette and how to navigate guild social structures are all part and parcel of the game, but they're not narrative focused -- the community evolves these standards itself.

To my mind, any discussion of MMO spaces as religious experiences has to take these kinds of issues to heart. It's not the game, ultimately, that provides much (if any) real spiritual value. It's the evolving consensus between players - the discussion of what is and isn't of value, the behaviors chosen, the direction of the internal zeitgeist of the experience. If we're discussing the investment of meaning into these experiences, it is almost always the players who make that investment. All the game itself can do is give them a framework on which to hang these connections.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items

New Hellscream Short Story available now

If you're curious about exactly what is going on with Garrosh, Kairoz, and the Draenor we're all about to find ourselves on, then you'll want to read Hellscream, the new short story by Robert Brooks that's up on the official site right now. It goes into detail, bridging the gap between the end of War Crimes and the beginning of the expansion. How does Garrosh motivate the orcs of Draenor to become the Iron Horde? Well, that's exactly what this story covers.

Without spoilers, it's definitely an interesting read, and it gives us a sense of what the major actors are up to, especially Garrosh and Kairoz. Head on over to the official site and check it out.

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

Warlords of Draenor Beta: New Login Screen

With the newest patch to the Beta servers we're one step closer to what Warlords of Draenor will look like at release with this new login screen. As you can see, it hearkens back to the days of classic with the return of the Dark Portal, but changes it up with the signature red portal used by the Iron Horde to invade Azeroth and threaten both the Alliance and Horde with destruction.

I like it. It's retro, but it also changes it up enough with the images of what's going on behind it and that red glow seething, it's very interesting. I really enjoy that, when I first come back to the login screen after clicking the cinematics button, the portal is dormant, and then bursts into red light again. It's a very neat effect. What are your thoughts?

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

Warlords of Draenor Beta: New character models incoming

One of the things about the beta is, it can still surprise you. CM Zorbrix just posted to the forums about something we've all been wondering about - several of the new character models will be making their appearance in the beta. Both male and female trolls, human males, tauren females and night elf males will all be playable.

Zorbrix - Beta Realm Maintenance - 8/21/14
I just wanted to confirm that this build will have 5 new Player Character Models. Troll Male and Female, Human Male, Tauren Female, and Night Elf Male.

We've mentioned this before when models are first shown to you folks in beta, but I wanted to stress this point again: These models are a Work-In Progress. Things will not be perfect, and our QA testing of these models (and the subsequent bug fixes) are not yet complete.

I do hope you enjoy the models and give constructive feedback as appropriate, but please keep this is mind when looking at the models today.


It's important to note that the night elf male hasn't even had an Artcraft yet. This is definitely a work in progress, as was the case when the draenei male appeared on servers before it was previewed. But I find this amazingly exciting - finally we'll get to see how these models look in action.

We've added a slideshow of the new night elf male model below for players to look at.




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

Challenge modes 101: The beginning, the middle, and the end

This is the sixth in a series on getting challenge modes done before the Warlords of Draenor content patch. You will find all the articles in the series here.

Challenge modes can't be queued for like normal or heroic dungeons; you must travel to the instances and start them yourself (at least until you start getting golds and can teleport to them). Doing so will illuminate why so few people enjoyed having to do this in the age before the Dungeon Finder.

Right-click your character portrait, scroll down to instance difficulty, and click the Challenge Mode option. The instance portal will change to the hourglass graphic above. Enter and you'll find the path forward blocked by a yellow mist with a sundial in front and a list of the dungeon's requirements on your right. Clicking the sundial will give you the option to start the challenge. Once you accept, you'll get a countdown from 5, and then you're off to the races. Be sure to pre-pot!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Know Your Lore: Which Horde is Which?

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.

There will be spoilers for Warlords of Draenor in this post

So you may be confused right now. With the soon to come introduction of the Iron Horde, we've entered a situation where we've got several different Hordes. There's the Old Horde, the original Horde that invaded Azeroth from Draenor. There's the New Horde, or Horde 2 if you prefer, the Horde put together by Thrall after he liberated the orc survivors from the Second War, leading them out of the internment camps and to the shores of Kalimdor. Along the way they picked up the tauren and Darkspear trolls as allies, and eventually the Forsaken, blood elves and Bilgewater goblins joined their ranks. This Horde is the Horde most players are still a part of. Meanwhile, at the same time, there was the Dark Horde, consisting of Blackrock orcs under the command of Rend Blackhand and his ultimate master, Nefarian.

During his reign as Warchief of the Horde (the New Horde, to be specific) Garrosh Hellscream recruited both the Blackrock and Dragonmaw orcs to join the Horde. But at the same time, he grew disenchanted with the other races of the Horde - goblins were too greedy, blood elves too mercurial, undead too loyal to Sylvanas and distasteful to his sensibilities, the Darkspear too loyal to their Vol'jin, and the tauren ultimately too bound to their own code of honor. It didn't help that he'd killed Cairne Bloodhoof and further alienated the tauren clan leader Baine, Cairne's son, with his actions. Soon, Garrosh found himself leading a Horde he didn't much trust or care for.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: More fun with timelines

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.

Here we go again!

rjjagoda asked:

I continue to question what good blueprints would be to a society that simply does not have the technology, but that's a personal pet peeve. I mean, if I took iPhone schematics back to 1984, would Motorola be able to reproduce the thing? Or even understand some of the stuff they're looking at?

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

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