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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

War Crimes novel release date details

So if you're wondering when War Crimes (the upcoming Christie Golden novel about post-Siege of Orgrimmar Garrosh Hellscream and his trial) will be released, we have the details straight from author Christie Golden's Twitter account.
So not only do you know that the book will be released on May 6th, but if you just can't wait that long, you can go to Denver to the StarFest convention and snag a copy there three days early. I'm not saying you have to do this, nor am I saying to get me a copy while you're there, but I wouldn't mind it, either.

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

Warlords, models, and performance

We all know that Warlords of Draenor is bringing a much-desired and long-awaited feature in new character models, and understandably, there's concern about the impact on PC performance. WoW Insider reported on EU Community Manager Taepsilum's post on the forums, which has since been updated to indicate that there is no requirement to run the game on Low settings to use the old models. Instead, the toggle which has been seen in the Alpha is set to remain.

Taepsilum's assertions that you won't need a new computer are, perhaps, bold. Gamespot has picked up on them for an article, and asserts that you "probably" won't need a new machine. This is accurate, with the key word being "probably". If you're currently only able to run the game at 8FPS on Low settings, it's pretty likely that Warlords of Draenor will push your system over the edge.

Let's be realistic here. World of Warcraft has pretty amazing performance on older machines. A little while ago I asked on Twitter about players running it on low-spec systems, and it will let you run the game on some pretty archaic specs. Performance is about what you can do with the game, and is subjective. I'm happy with the graphical quality I get out of WoW on my machine, but to friends with higher level systems, it looks awful.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Watch out for Warlords of Draenor phishing scams

With another expansion looming on the horizon, there's another round of phishing scams and emails designed to trick you into giving up your account information. With this kind of scam, you get an email or visit a website that's so much like Blizzard's that you wind up typing in your login information, which the scammers then use to pick your account clean. Though you may think this is the sort of thing people only fall pray to when they aren't paying attention, phishing scams get more sophisticated -- and harder to recognize -- every day, so you need to keep your guard up.

Take this Warlords of Draenor phishing scam reported by Malwarebytes as an example. It starts off with an email that's formatted like a message from Blizzard saying you've won a free copy of Warlords -- which is really where you should get suspicious. Once you click on the link in the email, you're sent to a perfect copy of the Battle.net login screen where you're asked to enter your login information as well as your secret question and answer before you can redeem your free copy... but of course the scammers just run off with your info without giving you a thing.

To avoid being had, always check the header to see where an email has come from -- Blizzard emails will only come from an @blizzard.com address -- and if an offer sounds too good to be true, contact Blizzard directly to ask about it. For more tips on avoiding phishing, check out the support page on phishing scams.

Filed under: Account Security, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Flight path reassurance

Community Manager Bashiok has posted on the official forums in an attempt to calm players' fears about the enforced dependence on flight-paths that will come with Warlords of Draenor.

Bashiok
We're going to be making sure flight paths and other forms of travel are quick and efficient, with a goal of getting you to the places you want to go. Flight paths in the past have always been "the scenic route", lazily listing from side to side and around waterfalls to the intended oohs-and-aahs of the transportee. The flight paths in Draenor are not going to be loop-de-loop sightseeing tours, and we're going to be looking to our beta testers to let us know if any are less than tip-top.

The key to his point here is the directness. Especially in Mists, flight paths were gratuitously looping and indirect. The Horde shrine from the PvP vendor, for example, does a series of completely arbitrary tours around the shrine before actually landing. Hopefully this will not be the case in Warlords.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

The World as Story: Emergent storytelling in World of Warcraft

How does storytelling function in World of Warcraft? What are its limits? Does it have to unfold solely via quest text, or can it be told via other means? I ask this in part due to a developing discussion on the scale and scope of how the world we interact with as we play reveals the story elements. Back when I first started playing WoW, game story was almost exclusively revealed via quest text. When it wasn't, it was often revealed via in-game books. I remembered being floored with the pre-fight scene between Majordomo Executus and Ragnaros because it was a bit of story happening entirely in front of my eyes via dialogue and scene.

Over the years World of Warcraft has added a host of tools to its story delivery options - cutscenes, scenarios, events like Battle for Undercity, open-ended exploration, and quest integration with each of these kinds of vectors for story. It's not all just text anymore - we have in-game cinematics, cut-scenes rendered and played through using totally in game scenes, dialogue (the end of the Isle of Thunder, when Jaina and Lor'themar confronted one another was entirely realized through in-game dialogue), scenarios like A Little Patience and Dagger in the Dark, and even more complex combinations of all of them. The Dominance Offensive/Operation Shieldwall story in particular was unveiled through all of these techniques, using every arrow in the quiver to drive the story points home.

I'm bringing this up because of the recent revelation that not all secondary objectives in Warlords of Draenor will have quest text. The discussion led to a series of tweets from Dave Kosak that I think definitely are worth discussing. How do we get story in an MMO? Can the world we encounter be the story itself? As we move through it, how can it be best presented to us?

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

Know Your Lore: Look back in Draenei

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.

The draenei have a lot of unresolved issues.

For starters, they're stranded on a strange planet called Azeroth, after having just barely escaped Outland. They lived on Outland (back when it was called Draenor) for a few hundred years, time enough to start thinking of the place as home. Then it was taken from them, and their people nearly totally exterminated. Their escape to Azeroth was an accident, crashing here because their ship was sabotaged by blood elf servants of Kael'thas Sunstrider.

So let's look over things. In the past few decades the draenei have seen formerly amicable neighbors turn bloodthirsty, demon-addicted monsters. They endured the near-total extinction of their people, hiding in swamps and bedraggled refugee settlements, seeing many of the survivors mutate and lose their connection with the Holy Light. They saw roads made out of the bones of their people. They only escaped by stealing back a dimensional ship from people they'd never really seen or heard of who still helped try and kill them. And as soon as they arrived on this new planet they found out that the Burning Legion (the very same force that is trying to exterminate them) has already been here.

This is a condensed list, of course.

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

The Queue: Sometimes I use music to wake up


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.

Sometimes you wake up and you need to get your brain moving immediately. This has been one of those days.

This is the Queue. I'm filling in. Let's answer some questions.

rovingbandit211 said:

So everything the Blizz Devs have been saying about the Garrisons being an integral and mandatory part of questing and game play is actually wrong? This will be interesting. I bet you another hat you are wrong here Holisky.

Well, I'm no Holisky, but I have these tweets from Jeremy Feasel (@Muffinus) to back up that you can entirely skip the Garrisons while leveling if you want to and still go back and get the rewards. Without actually seeing how they will be integrated, we just have to wait and see. But there's evidence that, while they're certainly more integrated than the farm was, they're not 'mandatory'. I'm aware that saying this doesn't mean they're not mandatory or integrated for questing - Scott Andrews went to PAX East and got a lot of insight about them, and it seems like they will certainly be involved in how we quest. We'll find out. Since I have never made any promises to eat anything for you, I come out ahead either way.

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Filed under: The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Muffinus serves up Garrison details

Senior Game Designer Jeremy Feasel (he has an NPC named after him, the ultimate honor) has been answering questions on twitter about garrisons. Quite a few, in fact. Under his twitter handle of @Muffinus he dished out some pretty interesting details on what the current design for the feature is.
  • Garrisons are going to give you perks outside of them (we already knew about the faster mount speed perk, but others are being worked on).
  • Some perks, like a free resurrection, will not carry over into raids so as to keep them from becoming mandatory perks everyone has to get for their garrison. They want to keep customization as a draw and let players pick the perks they want.
  • You aren't hard gated by the initial quest that establishes the garrison - you can pursue the benefits and perks of the feature even if you decide to bypass it when leveling.
  • You will not have to stop doing something to run back and defend your garrison if/when it comes under attack. It's not a time-limited mechanic.
I'm pretty excited about garrisons, as they combine elements of player housing, RTS elements from the old Warcraft games, and new kinds of minigames. Should be interesting to get to see them in action.

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

Warlords of Draenor Screenshot of the Day gallery

Yes, it was a Cataclysm feature that continued in Mists of Pandaria's development process, and now it's back again for the ramp up to Warlords of Draenor -- the official Screenshot of the Day. We're actually up to five of them so far but the above scene from the steps of the Temple of Karabor is my favorite. Still, this picture from Frostfire Ridge (I presume) definitely interests me as well. Looking forward to combing over the pictures obsessively for the next few months.

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

Old models to remain available at low graphics

Over on the EU forums is an ongoing discussion of a type that usually comes about every expansion cycle: the question of whether or not your computer will need upgrades in order to run the new content. The short answer from CM Taepsilum is that, if you're happy with your computer's current performance in WoW, you're probably fine for Warlords of Draenor. So there's the answer to that.

However, fleetingly mentioned at the beginning of the post is the following interesting tidbit:
Taepsilum
Quote: Maideen

Since we are being blessed with new character models (Which can be disabled? Yes, no?)
Yes, if you set your graphics quality to Low.

This isn't something that's been explicitly clarified before now. There's been some talk that there would be a way to switch between the old and new models but we hadn't heard exactly how that would be done. It seems we now know: just set your graphics to "low" and it will enable the old player character models. If you've been nervous that your beloved main of many years might be changing irreversibly, hopefully this allows you to breathe a little easier. There'll be a way back!

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

"A more elegant collection game" - Watcher on transmog

Today we posted a rundown on PAX East information. and one of the pieces of information was that Diablo III's transmog system is not coming to World of Warcraft. This made me sad, of course. Today, Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas tweeted the following update on that.
Now, this doesn't tell us how they plan to make transmog more elegant. It doesn't even tell us for sure that there won't be a Diablo III style approach to it - it just tells us that it won't be in Patch 6.0, whatever it ends up being. Still, it's nice to know that it's still being worked on. The extra void storage tab is a nice feature. Until we know what it is going to be I'll just be over here staring wistfully at my complete lack of bag space.

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

PAX Beta keys temporarily allowed Warlords of Draenor access

Matthew Rossi posted on Friday about Blizzard's handing out Beta keys to people who played Warlords of Draenor at PAX East. Those keys were supposed to be for a later phase of the beta, but, as Bashiok elucidates on the official forums, a few of them actually worked during the PAX weekend itself.

This meant that a few of the players who took their key home and applied it to their account were able to access and play the beta well in advance of when the keys should have allowed them to. Blizzard has taken steps to revoke those players' access, but it would explain some of the streams seen on Twitch over the weekend. Where players have legitimately accessed Warlords with PAX keys, no action appears to have been taken. However, it seems that the Twitch warning is still in place for anyone streaming the alpha outside the select few who had accessed it legitimately with keys.

Those players no longer have access to the beta, and will need to re-redeem the same keys again at a later stage. No comment has been made by Blizzard so far about keys appearing on Ebay, but based on previous betas, they will be taken down as soon as they can be. Hit the break for Bashiok's full post.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: New info from PAX East

Elekks on Draenor
PAX East 2014 has come and gone, but we at WoW Insider have come away from the weekend with juicy new information to share with you about Warlords of Draenor. During the expo, I sat down for a chat with senior game designers Steve Burke and Brian Holinka, lead class designer Kris Zierhut, and other developers.

In our brief time together, they told me some exciting info about garrisons, raiding, transmog, and the expansion's starting experience. They also provided insight into what a boosted level 90 will experience after the expansion launches.

Please note that mild spoilers about the early story of Warlords of Draenor will follow. Join me after the break for all the new info!

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Filed under: News items, Raiding, Interviews, Transmogrification, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: New garrison screenshots from PAX East

Hunter site Eyes of the Beast attended PAX East this weekend, and uploaded some images from the press kit. Included in the screenshots are an impressive shot of what appears to be the Spires of Arak, a shot of Frostfire Ridge, another shot of the gorgeous scenery in Shadowmoon Valley, and of course, garrisons. The garrison screenshots in particular are interesting because it looks like this is a garrison at or very near completion -- giving a much clearer look at just what these things will look like when we get to set them up ourselves.

Of course, the buildings displayed are all Alliance structures -- we haven't really seen any fully realized previews of Horde settlements just yet. The Alliance architecture seems to blend in with Draenor's lush landscape remarkably well. I'm hoping that the Horde buildings won't stick out like a sore thumb in comparison -- but we'll have to wait to see what the Horde structures look like, for now. Check out the full post on Eyes of the Beast for all the images.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Wowhead interviews Warlords developers at PAX East

Our friends over at Wowhead are attending PAX East this weekend, and Perculia had a chance to sit down and interview Lead Class Designer Kris Zierhut and Game Designer Steve Burke about Warlords of Draenor. A variety of topics were discussed -- Garrisons were discussed in detail, as well as raid cooldowns, the strengths and weaknesses of the Timeless Isle, professions and the removal of damage bonuses, and much more.

One of the more exciting discussions addressed the issue of storage space. Mentioned in the interview was the new toy box tab that will rid your bags of all the interesting gadgets and toys you find while questing. But that's not all -- most profession materials will stack to 100 in the new expansion, and gathered quest items from kill and carry quests will be tracked, but not actually take up space in your bags. And perhaps the most exciting news from the interview (for me, anyway) is that at long last, transmogrification fanatics will be getting a second tab of Void Storage in which to squirrel away their favorite fashions. You can listen to the full audio from the interview above -- it's well worth checking out.


Filed under: Interviews, Warlords of Draenor

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