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Filed under: BlizzCon

Warlords of Draenor and the draenei

Okay, let's just put our cards on the table. The only thing I want to do with orcs in Warlords of Draenor is kill them. Bring on the Iron Horde for me to stomp on. I will eventually level my Horde characters, sure. But I'm not particularly interested in the Frostwolves and how the Horde is going to relate to them and the Horde's search for an identity somewhere between murderous lunatics and Thrall's happy fun-time frolic friends - it's certainly not a bad hook for a Horde storyline. But I don't care about it. We've had a lot of the Horde and their civil war and their struggle to stay united under Hellscream. It was often very interesting stuff - I very much liked the Dominance Offensive quests - and I'm glad we got to see it. Mists of Pandaria ended up being a very dark expansion in a lot of ways, with themes of personal responsibility and how good intentions can go bad, missed opportunities and the fog of war, and I thought that the Siege of Orgrimmar made a lot of sense.

I wasn't one of the Alliance players who was upset about the Horde rebels having a role in SoO. I don't feel like it diminished the Alliance story any to show us working alongside them, I wasn't bothered by seeing Varian's actions at the end of the raid. I thought it was all good and proper.

But frankly, I'm done with the Horde's problems. I play Alliance. I want to see Alliance stories. Horde players should have their stories, too, I'm not saying they shouldn't -- more power to y'all solving that whole issue of inheriting a legacy of murderous psychopathic lunacy from the Old Horde, that's gotta be rough for you -- but I am done. Because Warlords of Draenor has promised me the one thing I've wanted to see since Burning Crusade itself failed to deliver it, and that's draenei. Draenei cities, as they appeared at their height. Draenei culture, not the ruined remnants of it. The draenei we saw in BC were the ragged remnants cast adrift on Azeroth, survivors of a near total extermination. They were the embattled refugees desperately seeking a place to rebuild. I fell in love with them in no small part due to their tenacity and willingness to keep going, but I've always wondered what they were really like before the horrors Ner'zhul and later Gul'dan unleashed upon them at Kil'jaeden's behest. And at last, I'm going to get to find out.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, BlizzCon, Mists of Pandaria

Can't get enough of BlizzCon? Check out the post-BlizzCon swag sale!

If you've spent the week lonesome for more BlizzCon excitement, then some shopping in the BlizzCon store may be just the thing. This is the same loot that was available in the store for virtual ticket holders and on sale at BlizzCon itself -- plus some extras from BlizzCons past -- but if you missed anything, you can now pick it up online even if you don't have a virtual ticket. Unfortunately, some things are sold out -- like Hearthstone tshirts and mugs -- but there's plenty of loot to go around, like Warlords of Draenor tees, the Lil' Chen plushie, and the epic purple lanyard.

So if you still have cash to spare after BlizzCon, there's shopping to be done! If there's anything you want, you should act fast, because supplies are limited.

Filed under: BlizzCon

7 things casual players need to know about Warlords of Draenor

The dust has finally settled from the BlizzCon newstravaganza, which means it's time for us more casual players to figure out just what's going on with World of Warcraft's upcoming expansion, Warlords of Draenor. Here's the basics:
  • Where's the expansion set? Draenor, before it became Outland. Yep, we're heading back in time for this expansion.
  • What's the new level cap? 100. But don't panic if you haven't even reached the Mists level cap yet, because Blizzard is going to boost one of your characters to level 90 so you can play in Draenor.
  • What can I do in Draenor? In addition to the standard leveling, questing, dungeoning, and raiding, the expansion will have garrisons for you to build. Think of them as a seriously amped up version of the farms in Mists, letting build your own in-game city.
  • What new classes or races are coming? None -- however, all of the current classes are getting new models. It may not sound like much, but it makes the original WoW races look brand new.
  • When will I be able to play? We don't know yet. But as with most Blizzard games, we suspect it will be out "when it's ready."

So that's what the next expansion has in store for us. But there are some upcoming gameplay changes that will definitely help low-level or more casual players find their footing and get through the game -- if that means you, read on for 7 things you'll want to know about the next expansion.

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Filed under: WoW Rookie, BlizzCon

Warlords of Draenor and the absence of Aggra

Let me tell you a little about my sister. My sister is married, in her thirties, and has four children -- all boys -- ranging from four to sixteen. Her house is a wild cacophony of boys being boys and the calls of various animals that she's acquired. It's a mini-farm, if you will, full of chickens, goats, pigs, dogs, cats, a couple of snakes, and possibly a species or two that I've missed. In addition to raising four boys with her husband, she also owns her own business. She runs her own grooming company here in town, and is both the sole employee and owner, successful enough that she's usually booked for at least a month out, if not more.

In addition to that, she runs two Renaissance festivals a year, hauls her family to regular camp-outs with the faire crew, regularly plays D&D with the gang, and knows how to shoot a longbow and a black powder rifle (and is a pretty good shot with both of them), along with cannons and trebuchets. She's a dab hand at cooking at home and over a campfire out in the wild, knows how to kill, gut and butcher just about anything, and how to tan and stretch a hide. On top of all that, I've heard she's a marvel at breaking up fights, reading bedtime stories, wiping tears from faces, kissing boo-boo's away, and snuggling in the mornings when little ones are sleepy and grumpy about getting up for school.

And god help anyone that comes between her and her family.

I'm telling you this story not to brag about my sister, although I love her very dearly, but to make a point that seems to have been sorely missed somewhere in the story of Warcraft. My sister isn't just a wife and mother. She's a warrior. She's a fighter. She's a spark of ferocity that will not be quenched. Where is her counterpart in Warcraft? That's a really good question.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, BlizzCon

The Light and How to Swing It: Paladining at BlizzCon

The Light and How to Swing It Paladining at BlizzCon

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Seasoned ret paladin Dan Desmond is here to answer your questions and provide you with your biweekly dose of retribution medicine. Contact him at dand@wowinsider.com with any questions, concerns, or suggestions!

Wow, what a weekend. Not only was the convention a lot of fun but it was great to meet fellow paladins and non-paladins alike. Most of my time was spent meeting people, watching panels, and playing demos. Amidst the chaos I didn't allocate much time to mulling things over, how the proposed changes in Warlords of Draenor would affect how I, and so many other ret paladins, approach the game, so now that I've had a decent night's sleep and my liver is mostly alcohol-free, I'm spending my day off in blessedly quiet reflection.

We didn't see much of any class discussion this year, and unless I missed an entire panel there wasn't a single paladin-related question throughout the entire convention. There are some big questions that it would be nice to have answered, like the permanency of holy power, the relative weights of our stats, the deletion of the warlock class, etc. We did get a few overall changes, changes that will affect ret in turn, so let's see how some of these could impact our day-to-day facesmashing in Warlords of Draenor.

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Filed under: Paladin, BlizzCon, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

BlizzCon 2013 Guide


Listed below is all of the live blogs, interviews, news posts, and galleries from the two days of BlizzCon 2013 -- that's over 20,000 words and thousands of pictures. As new things come in we'll update this guide.

Expect lots more about Warlords of Draenor in the coming weeks and months!

Live Blogs Warlords of Draenor News Other News and Views Galleries







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Filed under: BlizzCon

Conan O'Brien takes over Arena casting at BlizzCon

We're all used to some serious names taking the commentator's seat for the Arena Global Invitational at BlizzCon, but this year a first-round series between Skill-Capped and Flash Wolves got a special treat from the world's best gamer, Conan O'Brien. Conan took his Clueless Games segment to BlizzCon and joined Adam "Hoodrych" Brown and Jared "VHell" Coulston to lend some gravitas and real gaming knowledge to the commentary.

The full 25-minute version you see above will no doubt be condensed down into something far shorter for the show itself, as on watching it I certainly found the whole thing rather stilted and awkward, but there are some funny moments tucked away in there which will no doubt make for great TV. It's also possible that I'm just not used to Conan's comedy style. But I certainly cracked a smile at certain points, especially where he was grabbing the more knowledgeable casters' tidbits on, for example, gateway usage, and accidentally saying just the right thing! Oh and paladin healers? Conan says to make sure you use your potions.

Filed under: PvP, BlizzCon, Worldwide Invitational

The Queue: Doomed Planet. Last Son.

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 is all sorts of nerding out right now.

So I got the Man of Steel box set cause my wife is awesome and I've been watching and rewatching it. I know a lot of people hated it, and I even understand why some of them did, but for me there was a lot I really liked. I though Cavill did an excellent job as a young, inexperienced Clark trying to figure out who he is and what he wants to be, and the Krypton in the movie is fantastic in my opinion - it comes the closest to capturing the strange alien beasts and geography the planet developed in its ever expanding mythology. And the fight scenes are amazing. Okay, so Metropolis should be a crater, and that does still bug me - how the heck did they rebuild the Daily Planet that fast? Then again, the end of Avengers is pretty freaking bad in terms of destroyed buildings in the middle of the day in New York City, so I guess we just ignore that kind of thing now.

I still love the "You think SMASH you can threaten SMASH my mother SMASH SMASH!" sequence.

Anyway, onto The Queue.

Jasonfelliot asks:

Will an insta-90 have appropriate-level professions? If it's done the DK way, it will be very unfriendly to the "new players" who want to play with their friends.

"Here's your new 90, now go spend hours grinding your professions in low level zones you've never experienced so you can keep up with your friends."


Having just leveled a character to 89 (she'll make 90 today or tomorrow, depending on my time to do so) I can say that the improvements they made in Pandaria allowing you to skill up gathering professions on Pandaria nodes need to be moved to Draenor, and I expect they will be. It was also mentioned at BlizzCon that they want to move catch up mechanics like they did for cooking out to other professions as well. So I expect that they're aware of this issue, and will have something in place to deal with it. I don't have specifics for you though.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, BlizzCon, The Queue

Mythic Raiding: Why 20-man?

Mythic Raiding
Mythic raiding in Warlords of Draenor won't be the first time we've seen this particular raid size. Both vanilla Zul'Gurub and Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj were 20-man raids. It also won't be the first time guilds were fractured by raid size changes, such as the vanilla to BC transition. Heroic raiders in both 10-man and 25-man guilds are wondering why neither of them was chosen to be the official raid size going forward. Why do both raid sizes need to have their teams disrupted?

Community Manager Lore chimed in on the forums to explain why Blizzard chose 20 as the magic number. Essentially, the problem with the 10-man raid size is they can't reasonably guarantee you will have a specific class to handle a unique mechanic. This isn't a problem in 25-man, but when you are trying to make both raid sizes equal in difficulty you cannot design mechanics which only work in 25-man.

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Filed under: Raiding, BlizzCon

Blizzcon 2013: Classic Warcraft games may be coming to a PC near you

Q & A question
During Saturday's BlizzCon panel "World of Warcraft Q & A About Almost Everything" an astute goblin-lady cosplayer posed the panelists a question: considering that the upcoming expansion is all about the past, would Blizzard ever consider re-releasing the old Warcraft RTS games for modern computer systems?

The answer, surprisingly, is yes! Production Director J. Allen Brack revealed that there does exist a small team of people at Blizzard who are working on making just that very thing a reality. Folks at Blizzard are, rightfully, proud of the accomplishments of those games and fans of those older games themselves, and they would love to see them given new life. Personally I think it would be great to have the option to replay those games on a newer system -- I can't help but think of how much I'e enjoyed redone versions of The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge on Steam. While it might end up being more work than Blizzard has time for, it would be fantastic to see their earlier titles get a similar treatment. What about you? Would you like to see the original Warcraft RTS games on your modern PCs?

Filed under: News items, BlizzCon

Warlords of Draenor interview with Senior Game Producer Ray Cobo

Warlords of Draenor interview with Ray Cobo
Over the hectic BlizzCon weekend, I had the pleasure of sitting down with World of Warcraft Senior Game Producer Ray Cobo. Ray oversees various aspects of game design, with a specific focus on the art and design elements of WoW.

WoW Insider: So, the character models we've seen so far look amazing, the dwarves, gnomes, the orcs and draenei, what else are we expecting to see at the launch of the expansion?

Ray Cobo: Well, we're also going to have gnomes, we're also going to have undead, I think we're working on everything we can up to launch. Our hope is to be able to get them all out at the same time, and that includes trolls, that includes draenei. But it comes down to, you know, we only have so many hands in the fire, so we will just have to see what we can do.

So are you able to say anything about the ones that are furthest from completion? The ones that we're least likely to see at launch?

Well, of course the ones that we've seen at the con are the ones that are furthest along, we feel they're kind of representative of the kind of direction we want to go there, and we feel really good about them as a set.

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Filed under: Interviews, BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2013: World of Warcraft Adventure Continues Q&A

The World of Warcraft: The Adventure Continues panel during Friday's action-packed BlizzCon featured Lead Narrative Designer Dave Kosak giving a short presentation on the story behind the new expansion, Warlords of Draenor. Along with the history lesson, which was summed up by Matthew Rossi, the panel also featured a brief Q&A session that wasn't advertised in the program, but proved to be a pretty good list of questions and answers about the new expansion and what we can expect to see.

Along with some clarifications on whether or not this is a time travel expansion (it isn't), there are also a few new lore reveals regarding the next expansion, and some tasty tidbits of odds and ends that have yet to be addressed. Read on for the full list of questions -- some of the answers may surprise you.

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Filed under: Lore, BlizzCon

Warlords of Draenor: 5 cool things you may have missed at BlizzCon 2013

Warlords of Draenor trailer
There has been so much news over the past few days that it can be difficult to keep up. I'm still finding little bits of information here or there that I managed to miss amidst the onslaught. Here are a few interesting things that may have slipped under your radar.

1. The in-game group finder is being expanded

No, I'm not talking about random matchmaking with the dungeon finder. I am talking about Blizzard's answer to the oQueue addon. According to Ghostcrawler in the gameplay and systems panel, they recognize this is a feature players really want, so they've decided to add it to to the base game. You'll be able to create and browse for groups of all types and sizes. Want to PUG a cross-realm RBG team? No problem. Want to set up a group to do an achievement run in Icecrown Citadel? You can do that. Maybe your guild raid group is short a healer and you're looking for another? This is all possible since normal mode raids (soon to be heroic mode) will work cross-realm out of the gate.

Blizzard would prefer if you pugged and made new friends rather than use random matchmaking, so they've added a new mechanic called "stacking the deck" which will earn you bonus valor for every member of your group who isn't added via random matchmaking. Random matchmaking via dungeon finder and raid finder will still exist, of course.

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Filed under: BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2013: Reaper of Souls Hands-on gameplay impressions

The Crusader battles a giant beast in the streets of Westmarch.
At BlizzCon 2013, I was lucky enough to sit down at one of Blizzard's demo machines and play through the first part of the new Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls expansion as the new class, the Crusader. This article will have some spoilers for the new content, so if you're trying to avoid that, beware.

Crusading

The demo character was a male Crusader, set at level 33. He came with a few powers preset, which I used for the demo. For the left mouse button, a single target Slash attack struck the enemy with holy power. For the right button, Fist of the Heavens sent a huge beam of Holy Energy from the heavens around the Crusader, followed up by electric bolts that split off and attacked any enemies still standing. This right click, of course, cost Wrath, which is the Crusader's resource and regenerates like a combination of a rogue's energy and a death knight's runic power from WoW.

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Filed under: BlizzCon, Diablo 3

Breakfast Topic: Do we need to re-customize our characters with the new models?

New character models
There have been some concerns from a few players about their character changing to the point where they will no longer recognize them. In short, they would like to have the option of a free re-customization with the new models so they can make sure their character's personality remains intact. In a BlizzCon interview, Tom Chilton mentioned that there are currently no plans to do this because it's their goal to make the models as true to the spirit of the originals as possible.

Bashiok
Again I think it's just way too early to make a determination, and Tom certainly didn't give a definite answer. Our artists are going to extreme lengths to ensure the new models and animations embody (kyuck knyuck?) what you know and love about your characters. Our hope (and Tom's point) is that you log in, go AWESOME, and enjoy playing your character that still looks and moves and acts like your character - just at a much higher fidelity. If it comes down to it and we just totally miss the mark I'm sure we'd at least seriously consider offering a chance to pick something else. But again, too early to say for sure.

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Filed under: BlizzCon

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