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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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

The Queue: Death knight riot

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.

Jeez, Adam forgets to mention death knights and you guys riot and burn the comments down. This is why nobody likes death knights.

I'm kidding. Please don't kill me (and then raise my corpse as a ghoul).

DespicableBrad asked:

With the recent release of the WoD Cinematics and revelation of the end boss for the expansion along with the announcement of only 2 raid tiers for WoD, I can't help but shake the feeling that Blizz is sort of planning to rush us through WoD and get us into the next expansion more quickly than we found ourselves on WoD's doorstep post-MoP. With the upcoming Blizzcon, and a possible expansion announcement on the horizon... do you think this is possible? Is Warlords perhaps a "short" expansion to get us more quickly into the next one and into more frequent content patches/releases?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

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

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

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

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