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Filed under: Quests

Return of the Grimtotem

Cocles over at Loregy.com (who I actually got to meet the other day -- good guy, and check out his license plate) has an interesting idea about something he spotted in the information about the Cataclysm zones the other day. Thousand Needles is getting a revamp, including possibly a new instance, and Cocles says that could mean something awesome: the return of the Grimtotem clan (just a warning: there is a more serious spoiler later in that post).

I'm in. I love the "dark Tauren," and would love to see more from them. Plus, while we've seen plenty of troll instances, Cocles says we haven't seen a Tauren instance in the game (and all we can think of is good old Mr. Smite). And we haven't really heard from the Grimtotems since that whole issue with the spirit beast taming. It'd be nice to fight some cows for once.

There's lots of lore to mine there, too: Magatha is the reigning matriarch of the clan, and not only is she buddies with the Forsaken (obviously there's been something happening with them during Wrath), but she's rivals with Cairne Bloodhoof as well. It would definitely be interesting. Of course, this is all speculation -- we aren't sure that there will even be an instance in Thousand Needles, much less that it'll be Grimtotem based (the whole place is getting flooded, so anything could happen -- maybe the Naga will get a "fin-hold" there). But the idea of taking on the Grimtotem again seems like fun.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Instances, Quests, Lore, NPCs, Cataclysm

Advancing the battlegrounds

With all of the hubbub around the new LFG interface coming in patch 3.3, we haven't done much thinking lately about that other form of group play in the game, battleground PvP. But Cassandri at HoTs and DoTs has, and she has some interesting insight about what players are doing in the battlegrounds and why. She notes that some people dive off on their own, like Lone Rangers. And she hints that maybe, if these people were so persuaded, things would go better if they fought together, rather than on their own.

An interesting thought, for sure, and probably true -- while there are situations where I aim to be by myself in the battlegrounds (if I'm on my rogue and just want to hunt down some clothies), things almost always go better in there when you work as a team. So here's an idea: why not take the rewards implemented in the LFG system and apply them to better behavior in the battlegrounds?

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Quests, Making money, Battlegrounds

Patch 3.3 PTR: WoW.com's stream of the Frozen Halls

We ran our livestream of the Halls of Reflection on the PTR yesterday, and other than one little hitch (I figured I'd save us all the trouble of raiding the Lich King and just jump in and take him down myself, with disastrous consequences), it went pretty well. Turns out you need to run through the main quest to unlock the last two Frozen Halls instances, so we ended up doing all three: Forge of Souls and Pit of Saron on normal, and then the Halls of Reflection on both normal and Heroic. On the way, you can see all of the bosses, dropped loot, the various lore and questlines that weave throughout the new 5-man, and the final epic confrontation.

Obviously, considering this is straight video of these instances (with commentary and audio from the game), these things are full of spoilers -- if you don't want to know what happens when you enter Icecrown Citadel, steer clear. That said, the video we recorded is after the break. You don't have to watch the whole thing (in fact, at over two hours, you'd be crazy to), as I've tagged the Forge of Souls run, the Pit of Saron run, and the final heroic Halls of Reflection run on their own. Clicking those links or the markers on the video below should take you to the specific parts of the video. Enjoy.



Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Quests, Lore, NPCs

Patch 3.3 PTR: Quest tracking feature

The new quest tracker was released as part of Thursday's PTR build. This is different than the one that they included last time they made an attempt in this area. Previously, they used various types of icons to tell you what type of quest was in that area. This time, they've gone with a simpler approach. Instead of using different types of icons, you simply get a numbered circle that matches up with the same number in a quest window attached to your map. If the quest objective is scattered across a larger area a little glowing overlay is put up covering that area. It also puts a question mark on the map marking your turn in location.

We've put together a smaller gallery showing these features for you all to enjoy.



Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to the Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

Filed under: Patches, News items, Quests

Breakfast Topic: Feats of Strength

Allison's great post about all of the Feats of Strength still available in the game got me thinking: just what kind of value do players place on these "kinda" achievements? Personally, I never gave them much weight -- I have a few of them (I picked up the Vampiric Batling a while ago, and I've got the Competitor's Tabard, among a few other old-school and commemorative achievements), but the ones I've got I didn't really do anything to earn, and the Feats still available don't really mean that much to me. Unlike "real" achievements, Feats don't even give you meaningless points, and they can't be used to get you into any raids or runs that you couldn't do otherwise. They're boring to me.

I'm not that way about all achievements -- there have been a few that I've worked to get done, and there are even non-achievement items that I've pushed for in the past (I worked like crazy to finally get my Netherwing drake, and the only achievement I got for that was the Netherwing reputation). But Feats of Strength in particular seem passive to me, by Blizzard's design: if they happen, great, but there's not enough reward there for me to go out of my way to get them. What do you think?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics, Quests, Lore, Bosses, Mounts, Achievements

G4 talks to Blizzard about five years of WoW

We are quickly approaching the fifth anniversary of World of Warcraft's release (my calendar has it on the 23rd of November), and G4 has gotten a head start on celebrating -- they sent Morgan Webb over to Blizzard headquarters to talk to the team, including Tom Chilton, Alex Afrasiabi, and Jeff Kaplan, about what things have been like in the last five years since WoW's launch. There's nothing super groundbreaking in here, but there is lots of reminiscing about the game's early thinking -- Chilton talks about how dual specs were never even considered as an idea (until they, you know, were) and what things were like in the early post-launch days. Pretty stressful, sounds like.

Afrasiabi talks about how the quest team puts together and tracks all of the game's quests (he mentions both Metzen and the game's historian as the "lorekeepers" of the game), and the fact that they've put together "millions of words" of story and background lore for the game at large. He specifically talks about Cataclysm and replacing questlines, and says that if something does get removed from the game, they're hoping to replace it with something better, but most "fan favorites" will stay. And finally, Jeff Kaplan looks back on the early game itself, from unfinished zones to broken balance to launch day exhaustion. G4 teases something about the next MMO project, but all he says is that he can't talk about it. Oh well -- if we can't look forward, at least we get a nice look back from the folks at Blizzard who've been there since the beginning. You can see all four of the videos after the break.

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Filed under: Fan stuff, Blizzard, News items, Quests, Lore

Blizzard posts Quel'delar preview

Blizzard has posted a preview of the upcoming Quel'delar storyline that we'll be observing in Icecrown. Quel'delar, you'll remember, is the twin of the old Quel'serrar blade that we put together way back in the days of vanilla WoW.

For those of you who are spoiler-sensitive, details are behind the break.


Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to the Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

Read more →

Filed under: Night Elves, Items, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Quests, Blood Elves, Raiding

Patch 3.3 PTR: The Sacred and the Corrupt video

World of Raids has unveiled an extremely spoiler-filled video of the first quest to obtain the legendary axe, Shadowmourne. The quest, called The Sacred and the Corrupt, is active on the PTR but cannot be completed as it requires items obtained from Icecrown Citadel. The sweet-looking axe (shown above as data-mined by MMO Champion) is an upgrade from an identical but less spooky and icy-glowy epic axe called Shadow's Edge. The six minute video is pretty cool and epic, with the setting eerily reminiscent for players who played the Human campaign in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne The Reign of Chaos (thanks, Skeeran! Shame on me!). Nothing much to say, really, other than hit the jump to see the video. Oh, and in case I haven't made it clear... it's kind of spoiler-ish.

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Filed under: Patches, Items, Fan stuff, Quests

Nibuca's route for picking up candy


Unfortunately, even though I really want "The Hallowed" on my Paladin, he's not quite 80, so going to face the Headless Horseman will be a problem for me. But I may still run around and pick up all of the candy quests, now that they're up and running during Hallow's End. They're only a part of the big meta-achievement, but it might be worth getting them out of the way anyway, and the XP is supposed to be pretty good (especially if you're getting the Heirloom bonuses, which I am).

If I do go, I'll be using Nibuca's handy route to all of the candy buckets -- she went through for you and figured out the quickest and easiest (or at least a quicker and easier -- it may not be perfect, as she says, but it works) way around to all of the candy quests in old Azeroth and Outland. You'll have to do Northrend on your own, but you may want to wait on that anyway, as it's supposed to be slightly bugged. If you are planning on getting all of your just desserts this year, Nibuca's route should be extremely helpful.

Filed under: How-tos, Events, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Quests, Leveling, Achievements

Breakfast Topic: What we don't know


I found myself without much to do last weekend, so I spent most of my time in Azeroth. My paladin, who's been extremely slow to level lately, went on a burst of XP gathering, and I got him from around 67 up to about 73, finishing up Outland and making some solid gains in Northrend. At 68, I logged out to my level 80 hunter, picked up the Tome of Cold Weather Flight, and passed it back to my pally, so as soon as he stepped on the northern shore, he could take to the skies in his flying machine (yes, he's an engineer, and he's headed for a chopper as soon as I can make it).

But then something strange happened (I mentioned this on last week's podcast as well): not one, not two, but three different people sent me tells in the same evening, all of them asking just how I was flying around Northrend at level 68. I feel like we covered the topic pretty well here on WoW.com, and of course Blizzard had the information listed in the official patch notes. But somehow, news of the Tome had flown (sorry) under these players' radar.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics, Quests

Patch 3.3 PTR: New UI function lists completed quests


Over on the WoW LJ community, poster Honem has pointed out something that made me sort of squeal with glee when I first read it: The latest PTR build includes a couple very interesting new functions, as reported by official forum MVP Iriel:
  • NEW - QueryQuestsCompleted() requests that the server send the client a list of completed quest ids. Once the list is received the QUEST_QUERY_COMPLETE event is fired. (There is a limit on how frequently this can be called)
  • NEW - tbl = GetQuestsCompleted([tbl]) populates a table (creating one if necessary) with the ids of completed quests.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Quests, Achievements

Sleeper Cartel hosts a Dead Man's Party next Saturday


Those party hosts in Sleeper Cartel on Perenolde are at it again -- they're holding yet another in-game party, this time to celebrate Halloween, and it sounds like another player-run blowout: free food and drinks, costume and trivia contests, and lots more. There's something called the Dead Man's Run, and we have no idea what that is, but it sounds like a bunch of low level gnomes will die, which is always run. They tell us they're planning on having a live DJ spin tunes, just as they did at their summer party. And they'll have player-run questlines to do as well. You have to give it to them: Sleeper Cartel never seems to run short on creative things to do in-game.

I'm sorry to say that, as much as I've reported on these, I've never actually been to one. But I think that'll change with this party -- it kicks off at 7pm MST next Saturday, October 24th, on the US server of Perenolde, and they're holding it at what they say is one of the creepiest places in the game, the Ruins of the Scarlet Enclave (a.k.a. the Death Knight starting area, sans leveling Death Knights). I just marked it on my calendar, so I do believe that I will see you there.

Filed under: Items, Events, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Quests, Contests

Arcane Brilliance: Mage leveling guide, 11-20

Welcome to another installment of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that dares to ask the question: how much mage is too much? Then Arcane Brilliance slaps itself in the face, because that's a stupid question. You can never have too much mage.

So, your mage is leveling nicely. You've wandered out of the starting area and into the wider zone beyond, done a bunch of quests, learned a rudimentary spell rotation (Frostbolt-->Fireball-->Fireball-->Fireball-->Conjure Water-->Drink) and now you've gone and hit level 10. This is a milestone for a number of reasons:
  1. The mage staff quest we talked about two weeks ago.
  2. You can now begin doing PvP in an actual battleground against players in your level bracket (as opposed to doing PvP against bored 12-year-olds who think it's fun to run around the starting areas with their level 80 death knights ganking lowbies).
  3. Your first talent point!
Let's discuss the second two of these three things before we move forward.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, PvP, Quests, Features, Leveling, Guides, Classes, Talents, Alts, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Battlegrounds

Telling a story without quest text


Tyllendel's friend had an interesting reaction to the game when he first played it: he felt that all of the quest text was unbearable, and that he wanted to play the game rather than reading what NPCs told him. We've talked a little bit about this before -- obviously, when Blizzard kicked off WoW nearly five years ago, quest text was just the way quests were done, and while Blizzard has expanded the concept a bit since, it's still mostly the way MMOs work: you go to a character, talk to them, and they tell you where to go and what to do.

But I can see Tyl's friend's point: games are much less about telling these days and more about showing. You might understand how, if you've never played an MMO before, reading the quest text can take you right out of the game, rather than running off with an NPC or having the game show you rather than just tell you what to do. And Blizzard is getting there: later in the thread Slorkuz points out the recent Afrasiabi interview, and talks about how Alex mentions new ways of doing quests. For example, the quest team is trying to do a quest with no text, or direct players' attention without actually telling them, "look here." Text is the easiest and most basic way to help players accomplish goals, but as the game moves on, even the developers realize it's not the most elegant or immersive way to do it.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Quests, Lore, NPCs

New official Jaina and Sylvanas character bios


Blizzard continues to leak out the official information about Icecrown (the raid, as you know, coming in patch 3.3), this time updating their Under Development site with official bios for Jaina Proudmoore and Sylvanas Windrunner, two ladies (one living, one not-so-much) that will likely have a large role in the fight against Arthas Menethil, better known as The Lich King.

Sylvanas, you'll remember, featured in the Lament of the Highborne video early on in BC, where the story of her death and resurrection at Arthas' hands made it clear she's got unfinished business with the onetime-paladin turned Lord of the Scourge. And Jaina... well, Jaina's had a front row seat to Arthas' undoing -- they were childhood friends who looked like they were headed towards being more than friends, until Arthas found a big bad sword that turned him into a big baddie. It's going to be awesome seeing all of these storylines start meeting up together in The Frozen Halls and the raid beyond -- we can't wait.

Filed under: Hunter, Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Quests, Raiding, Lore, NPCs, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

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