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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Call to Arms removed

Way back in 2005, patch 1.7.0 brought with it Battleground Holidays, intended to offer additional rewards to players who participated in particular battlegrounds over a designated weekend -- later renamed the Call to Arms in Wrath of the Lich King. Since then, the familiar sight of representatives from various battlegrounds has been a staple of the Warcraft experience. As new expansions were introduced, new battlegrounds came with them, and were subsequently added to the Call to Arms rotation.

While the thought of getting bonus honor might have been pretty good incentive when the feature was first introduced, as the years have gone on, the Call to Arms weekends have been doing exactly the opposite of what they'd been introduced to accomplish. Unfortunately, some battlegrounds are still perceived as favoring one faction over another -- which means that on Call to Arms weekends, queue times can skyrocket as one side piles on to queue for the additional bonuses, and the other simply avoids the battleground altogether. So what's the solution? Removing the Call to Arms weekends altogether.

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Filed under: PvP, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: PvP now requires active flagging on PvE realms

Have you ever been quietly minding your own business on the Timeless Isle, or attacking a world raid boss like Ordos, only to find yourself accidentally flagged for PvP due to a misclick or tab target gone horribly wrong? Earlier this year, Bashiok mentioned that one of the goals for PvE realms was to keep players from accidentally flagging themselves -- and in a tweet by Ion Hazzikostas, it's been confirmed that this has now been implemented on the beta.



This means no more accidental flagging for players that are simply trying to DPS or quest out in the open world on PvE realms. And this also applies to healers as well -- healers will simply not be able to heal flagged players unless they choose to actively flag for PvP. Naturally this issue isn't a problem on PvP realms, but for players on PvE realms, the change in Warlords should be a welcome relief. When players make the choice to roll on a PvE realm, that choice is usually a deliberate one that's made to avoid the hassle of unwanted world PvP situations. It's nice to see that steps are finally being taken to keep PvP on PvE realms what it was meant to be -- an optional experience that you can choose to participate in, rather than be tricked into whether you're willing or not.


Filed under: PvP, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Tank changes

Tank
Technical Game Designer Chadd Nervig, aka Celestalon, has been answering some inquiries on Twitter lately, and hinted at a few of the changes we can look forward to with tanking. It seems all tanks are up for tweaks, in some fairly overarching ways.

If you're not familiar with Resolve, it's essentially what Vengeance has become in Warlords of Draenor, albeit with some changes. Currently, Resolve improves self-healing and absorbs done by the tank to the tank and partially converts mastery to attack power. How it will be further tweaked in Warlords remains to be seen, but the overall change itself should help tanks be tanks without overshadowing the DPS.

The rest of the tweet is much more intriguing, but does fit with the overall theme of scaling down we're seeing in Warlords. Lowering tank health and mitigation seems risky, but if boss damage is also reduced, then it shouldn't be a problem. For a long time, Blizzard has made noises about how they wanted to slow down the pace of boss fights, especially in the final tiers of an expansion. Damage that's less devastating, healing that is slower pace and choices that are more meaningful. To me, these changes read as being in line with that philosophy. I will be interested to see them implemented, and how they affect gameplay in the beta.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: Suicide Mission

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 will be your host today.

I have to admit, I think about the suicide mission from Mass Effect 2 a lot when I go through the Dark Portal for Khadgar. I kind of wish there was a way to have an iconic in-game rendered cinematic, like the one for the Wrathgate, when you step through except instead of featuring some NPC (even an awesome pair like Bolvar and Saurfang Jr.) it featured your character giving a rousing Shepard speech, gathering up all of Azeroth's defenders (under your banner, no less) and charging through with that awesome Jack Wall music playing in the background. Sadly, since I don't think that's possible, you'll have to settle for listening to the music above and daydreaming about it.

In my version, I go paragon, just in case that matters.

alkalineheat asks:
Q4tQ: blizzard has expressed they have no plans to make 2hand maces viable agian for enhancement shamans in Wod. Exactly who are they still viable for? It seems like I havent seen many equipped or even droped in ages.

Arms and fury warriors, all DK's, retribution paladins and to a lesser extent feral and guardian druids. I used Gar'tok, Strength of the Faithful for a while even though it wasn't optimal for warriors.

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Filed under: Warrior, The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

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

Warlords of Draenor Beta: Patch notes for August 27th

They're here, and they're mostly a tuning pass.

The latest patch notes for the Warlords of Draenor beta are much less about sudden, massive changes and much more about getting damage and healing output where it needs to be for the live release of the game. So what are we looking at?
  • The pandaren racial Epicurean now increases the effect of buff food by 75%, down from 100%.
  • Typhoon's range was decreased to 15 yards, down from 30 yards.
  • Pretty much every single class saw some damage adjusted up or down.
We definitely seem to be heading towards release at the pace you'd expect for a November release of the expansion. Head on over to the official site for more details.

Filed under: 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

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

Breakfast Topic: Who do you want to see in your garrison?

The garrisons that are due to arrive in Warlords of Draenor have a full cast of characters, with plenty of familiar faces among them. (How Dog has made it from your Halfhill farm all the way to Draenor I don't know, but I'm glad he's there.) But as we try to make our garrisons feel like home in the wilds of Draenor, I wonder who should be there but isn't.

Will we see pandaren eventually joining us in Draenor? Though the garrison's trade outpost was originally staffed by pandaren, they were replaced by other races in a recent beta patch... but that doesn't mean our garrisons have to be completely panda free. Perhaps Li Li or Lorewalker Cho might make the trek out to Draenor to join our crew of adventurers. And where's Harrison Jones this expansion? Exploring an alternate universe for artifacts seems like it would be just his thing.

So tell us, readers: who do you want to see in your garrison?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Recruit Alexi or Weldon Barov for your garrison

Ah, the Barov family. If you've been playing WoW for any length of time, you're likely well acquainted with the brothers Barov. The last two heirs to the Barov family fortune, Alexi and Weldon Barov used to send players both Alliance and Horde to the opposite faction's camps in order to murder each other. Once the head of the offending brother was returned, players were rewarded with the Barov Peasant Caller, a trinket that summoned Barov servants. In Cataclysm, the Barov brothers seemed to have come to an accord, each no longer intent on the murder of the other, and instead focused on assaulting Scholomance.

But in Mists, both Weldon and Alexi disappeared without a trace. The Barov Peasant Caller was no longer able to be obtained, Scholomance was revamped, and the brothers Barov vanished. Some players idly wondered if this meant the end of the Barov line -- we can officially say no, it did not. Why? Because it looks like Weldon and Alexi decided to team up and band together to enter the lumber industry, and you can find them both on Draenor. In fact, you can recruit either Weldon for the Alliance, or Alexi for the Horde, as a follower for your garrison.

And that Peasant Caller? It's back, and it's gotten a substantial upgrade along the way.

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Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: New voice files datamined

Adriacraft over on Youtube has been hard at work downloading a variety of different voice files from the latest beta build. Included in the mix are what seems to be most of the tracks for the Tanaan Jungle starting experience, as well as a few different vignettes and scenarios, some of which haven't been seen on the beta as of yet. Several of the orc warlords have been dug up, as well as a full ten minutes worth of vocal tracks from Yrel.

Needless to say, every single last one of these files are full of spoilers for story lines and events in Warlords of Draenor. If you are deliberately avoiding spoilers, listening to any of these would be a very, very bad idea. And if you do choose to listen to them, keep in mind that these are beta files, and therefore may or may not actually be found in game once the expansion is released.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Highmaul Coliseum offers free-for-all PvP

Warlords of Draenor certainly seems to be mixing it up on the PvP front, offering a lot of new options for players that enjoy PvP. Oddly enough, one of the coolest opportunities for PvP I've seen so far comes not in a battleground or even on the fairly addictive isle of Ashran, but from your garrison. While leveling through Gorgrond, players can choose to make one of two outposts, that will unlock the plans for one of two medium buildings -- the Lumber Mill, or the Gladiator's Sanctum. If you choose the Gladiator's Sanctum, you get a few nice perks for Gorgrond -- and you also get to build the Sanctum itself.

Level 3 of the Gladiator's Sanctum unlocks the Highmaul Coliseum, shown in the video above. A solo scenario, the Coliseum places you in a pit with other players. Once the event starts, it's a free-for-all brawl, and the last person standing wins the spoils. What kind of spoils? PvP gear, of course! To unlock the level 3 blueprint for the Gladiator's Sanctum, players must first complete The Bone Collector, an achievement that requires players to collect 4,000 Broken Bones from PvP combat in Draenor -- any kill that awards honor also awards 3-6 bones. Once you've built the level 3 Sanctum, you gain access to Highmaul Coliseum, as well as a buff that reduces all damage in outdoor Draenor zones by 50% if you fall below 35% health.

Take a look at the video for more of the Coliseum in action -- I particularly like how dead players are teleported up into the stands to watch the rest of the brawl play out, spectator style.


Filed under: PvP, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: Mannoroth's dead. Dead like Zed.

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 will be your host today.

Questions. We answer questions.

MichaelEKirby asks:
Q4TQ (or maybe more a PSA?): Saw this on MMOChamp:
"Kil'jaeden and Archimonde are back, but not as bosses."
So that pretty much kills the "all world, all dimensions are open" / only one Burning Legion across multiple planes of reality idea?


Considering we see Grommash kill Mannoroth in the cinematic for Warlords of Draenor which is set 35 years in the past, if there was only one Burning Legion across all planes of reality, that would mean that our Grom couldn't kill Mannorth ten years ago, since he would already be dead.

But no, since it's 35 years ago, both Kil'jaeden and Archimonde could make appearances, since Kil'jaeden isn't dead (he gets banished during his fight at the Sunwell) and Archimonde only died ten years ago. It's the double-death of Mannoroth that proves there's more than one Legion.

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Filed under: The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Novus Alfar Noctem

Above you is a night elf male, on the beta. As you can see, in Tier 10 it's pretty hard to really tell the difference, but it's pretty profound if you get a chance to look at the model when it's more stationary. Understanding that this is still a work in progress, it's a pretty amazing leap forward and I'm definitely interested in playing a night elf warrior in Warlords now.

Also debuting last night were the human male, tauren female, and both male and female trolls. If you got a chance to play any of them, what did you think? And if you're not in the beta or just didn't get a chance to play, which of the new models are you most interested in getting to see?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

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

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