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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

BlizzCon 2014 interviews feature Cory Stockton, Alex Afrasiabi

Just in case you missed it in the madness of Warlords of Draenor's launch, WoW Insider had the opportunity to interview not one but two developers this year at BlizzCon 2014. Both interviews were posted earlier this week and are well worth the look -- and may have been missed in the flood of Warlords expansion announcements and updates.

For those with more of a bent towards lore, the interview with World of Warcraft's Creative Director Alex Afrasiabi focused on the story behind the expansion, including discussion on alternate universes, some surprising stories about Garrosh Hellscream and the development of Warlords, and even an interesting tidbit about alternate Azeroth.

For those with more of a technical bent and burning questions about Warlords of Draenor's features and content, check out our interview with Lead Game Designer Cory Stockton. In the interview, we take an in-depth look at garrisons and their development, the new look of Warcraft's professions, and some cool new things to look forward to with transmogrification, as well as a few other fun features of the latest expansion.


Filed under: Interviews, BlizzCon, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: All around me are familiar faces

Let's face it: This has not been the smoothest launch we've ever seen. By now, server maintenance should be well underway to address issues that have been plaguing everyone since the expansion's release. Hopefully, once the servers are back up and running again, they'll be running pretty smoothly. I've definitely done far more waiting than playing over the past couple of days, and it's pretty frustrating.

But oh, those few glorious hours I was able to get on and play. Draenor is amazing. It's beautiful. The music is fantastic. Garrisons are ridiculously fun. And I think what's been the most fun have been the random encounters with familiar names from our version of the universe -- not necessarily the big guys like Akama, shown above, but the little guys. The ones who were minor players, the ones who had smaller, more supporting roles in prior expansions, and have decided to just show up and help out.

It's like a highlight reel of every NPC I ever helped out and liked, suddenly popping in to pay me back for all those favors I did way back when. So far, my favorites have been fond friends like Fiona and Mulverick, but I know I'll run into many more as I continue leveling -- hopefully without the long wait times to get in. What about you guys? Is there anyone in particular you've been overjoyed to see?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Hotfixes for November 14 and realm stability update

Earlier this evening, community manager Bashiok provided an update on World of Warcraft's server stability issues.

Warlords Launch Update
We're making preparations for the Europe maintenance beginning in just an hour, and along with hardware upgrades we will be implementing some of the performance improvements we've been testing. One of these is a fairly large change to the way the game world is run by the servers-expanding the phasing tech used for the Tanaan intro experience to the entire continent of Draenor. This will allow us to run multiple copies of Draenor simultaneously, spreading out server population, while attempting to keep guilds and parties within the same copy. We're currently running tests of this tech on a few North American realms, and have found we're able to raise realm capacity by a significant amount. We'll continue to provide updates as we progress through the Europe maintenance, and prepare to apply the same changes on the Americas and Oceanic realms.


Running multiple instances of an overworld zone is a long-lived practice in MMO games in general, even dating back to games contemporary with the launch of WoW in 2004. Until now, Blizzard has tried to avoid implementing such a thing to preserve their philosophy of the game's social aspects -- the idea of a persistent world shared with other players. Now, for the sake of stability, Blizzard is finally implementing it. We could debate their philosophy given their implementation of phasing in questing, but that's not necessarily applicable when talking about instancing entire servers. Whether it's a temporary measure or not, time will tell.

In addition, Blizzard has released a new round of hotfixes. Like yesterday's numerous hotfixes, many of these are aimed at questflow issues, and others at bugs in gameplay. You can find the hotfixes below.

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Filed under: Hotfixes, Warlords of Draenor

Maintenance scheduled for November 15

Following today's maintenance and the continuing rocky launch of Warlords of Draenor, Blizzard has announced another round of extended maintenance for November 15 on North American realms. According to the Battle.net launcher, realms will be taken down at 3:00 a.m. PST and Blizzard expects to have them up again at 9:00 a.m. PST.

We do hope these launch issues are brought under control soon. Saturday maintenance is, historically, highly unusual -- and not very convenient for players. As necessary as it may be, extended weekend downtime is a hard sell for a brand new release.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Start the legendary quest at level 98, get an epic ring


The Warlords of Draenor legendary quest will culminate with a powerful ring instead of a cloak like in Mists of Pandaria. Similar to Wrathion's quest, you'll be given smaller rewards as you progress through Khadgar's quest that will ultimately lead up to the legendary version. However, instead of sockets or gems, you will be focusing on the ring from the start. You can actually get the first version of the ring (ilvl 640) before you even hit level 100 (though you do need to be 100 to equip it). The quest becomes available at level 98 and starts in your garrison. Continue after the break to learn how to get it.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Third round of Warlords of Draenor hotfixes for November 13 now live

After round one and round two of today's hotfixes comes round three. Once again, these hotfixes are aimed primarily at questflow, but there are a few bugfixes in the mix. Highlights include:
  • Artificer Romuul: Resolved an issue where players may sometimes not receive this quest after completing the Embaari Defense Crystal event.
  • These Colors Don't Run: Characters now receive credit towards planting a Frostwolf Banner when they defeat or help in defeating a Bladespire Ogre with the exception of Bladespire Mauler, Chef, Boarbuster, Ogron, and Goresnout.
  • Collision geometry has been added to Drek'Thar, Thrall, and Gazlowe in Frostfire Ridge.
  • Resolved an issue where Keg Smash may sometimes not generate Chi when used.
You can find the full list of hotfixes below.

Read more →

Filed under: Hotfixes, Warlords of Draenor

European and North American realms going down for unscheduled maintenance


Update 8:55 p.m. PST:

North American realms are now going down at 5 a.m. PST and will be offline for an unscheduled 4 hour maintenance window.

Original Post at 8:44 p.m. PST:

Only announced within the last few minutes, European realms will be going down imminently for an unscheduled 4 hour maintenance window.

Though wholly undesirable by most players, an emergency maintenance period may turn out to be the best way to get realm stability issues under control.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Additional hotfixes issued for November 13

Blizzard has released the details of a second round of hotfixes today to go along with those issued earlier today, the majority of which are aimed at bottlenecks in questing and other questing issues. Highlights include:
  • Dark Enemies: Increased spawn rates for Shadowmoon Voidmancer.
  • [Requires a realm restart.] Gormaul Tower: (Temporary) Completion credit for the quest is automatically awarded once players reach the top of the hill.
  • Toy Train Set has been temporarily disabled.
The Shadowmoon Voidmancers were one of the earliest problematic areas in the Alliance questing experience, a bottleneck that caused a severe buildup of players last night and this afternoon. And the Toy Train Set hotfix will surely be appreciated by those stuck standing near a portal or any other bottleneck location.

The full hotfixes can be found below.

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Filed under: Hotfixes, Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard confirms World of Warcraft target of DDoS attack [UPDATED]

Update 5:50 a.m. PST:

The servers are now down for maintenance, and the attack is over. If further ones happen, we'll announce accordingly.

Update 8:15 p.m. PST

The DDoS attacks continue. Blizzard is rolling out updates to the backend services at a breakneck pace right now, some of which are having unintended consequences and further complicating an already messy situation. However, it should be noted that this is to be expected when combating such a large scale attack. In no way is Blizzard responsible for the server outages on this scale -- responsibility rests with the script kiddies and bot net controllers.

It's hard to know just how big this attack is, but with the sustained issues it's causing, and the severity of response from Blizzard, it's safe to assume that it's big. Battle.net is a hardened internet service that has withstood onslaughts like this before. For it to fail at such a critical juncture is nothing but catastrophic for the short term, and could have serious long term implications. We have some idea, shown above, of just how global this attack is.

We'll update this post as the night continues, providing you with the latest. In the mean time -- we recommend you catch up on your lore, and not concern yourself with logging in.

Blizzard also issued the following updated statement at 8:00 pm PST this evening:

Blizzard Entertainment
Our top priority continues to be service issues impacting performance and long wait times on North American realms. We recently pushed a server change that caused disconnects, and as a result login services are heavily impacted as players attempt to (re)log in to the game. If you experience issues logging in, please be patient and wait a few minutes before trying again. We're continuing to work to address other stability and latency issues as well as make additional improvements in game performance.


Updated by Adam Holisky. Original post follows after the break.

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Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Garrisons, professions and more with Cory Stockton

Warlords of Draenor has arrived, with tons of new content, quests, dungeons, raids, zones, and of course garrisons! During BlizzCon 2014, we sat down with Lead Game Designer Cory Stockton to discuss the development and design behind the new feature, in addition to a closer look at the changes to professions and profession design in Warlords of Draenor. But what's a talk with Mumper without a little transmog talk thrown into the mix -- and it appears we've got more transmog changes on the distant horizon that we'd originally thought.

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Filed under: Interviews, BlizzCon, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor hotfixes and other issues

Like any WoW expansion, Warlords of Draenor has not been without its issues. Garrison services are currently undergoing a restart and a fresh round of hotfixes has been released, primarily aimed at questing content. Some highlights:
  • Back to Work / Looking for Lumber: Greatly increased the number of trees available to mark for both Horde and Alliance versions of the quest. Additionally, Lunarfall Ravens respawn much more quickly now.
  • Ship Salvage / What We Need: Drudgeboat Salvage should now respawn more quickly.
  • Durotan at Beastwatch in Gorgrond is now significantly tougher.
You can find the full hotfixes below.

Read more →

Filed under: News items, Hotfixes, Warlords of Draenor

Broken garrisons and other issues on launch day

Bugged garrison

UPDATE: Bashiok posted that Blizzard will be "restarting some Garrison services" to address access and progression issues. He also says that Blizzard has implemented "dozens of hotfixes" over the last few hours.

UPDATE 2: For those experiencing long queue times, this is working as intended. Bashiok has said that Blizzard is reducing realm population caps in order to address latency. Rygarius has posted a list of hotfixes for November 13.

UPDATE 3: Lore tweeted about the issues: "So obviously launch not going as smoothly as we wanted. Will be many discussions in the near future about what could have been done better. Right now, however, we're focusing 100% on just fixing issues so everyone can play. Can worry about what went wrong later."

UPDATE 4: Lore says fixes have been implemented for garrisons, but he recommends walking to your garrison instead of flying there or using a hearthstone.

Despite a mostly smooth launch so far, some realms are now experiencing major problems as more and more players crowd the servers. Garrisons on Argent Dawn, Cenarion Circle, Khadgar, and other realms are currently bugged and not always phasing properly. Twitter user @ikolism posted the image above of players in an unphased Horde garrison. Normally you're only supposed to see the players you've invited to your version of the fortress...

Players can become stuck inside their garrisons, or stuck outside and unable to "zone in." If the entire garrison server crashes when players are inside it, they are reportedly sent back to where their hearthstones are set. For many that means an unexpected trip back to Orgrimmar, Stormwind, or Pandaria.

High population realms, particularly in the EU, have experienced world server lag and crashes.

CM Lore tweeted an update on the problems, but did not provide an ETA:
Earlier, rolling restarts were required to fix Establish Your Garrison for Horde players. A number of hotfixes have already gone out today to fix problems with These Colors Don't Run in Frostfire Ridge and Drudgeboat Salvage quest objects in Shadowmoon Valley. Lore also says a hotfix is "in testing" for Gormaul Tower. Another for Gorgrond NPCs that are reluctant to spawn is "being developed."

Filed under: Bugs, Hotfixes, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor release patch notes

It's here. At long last, we can finally take the fight through the Dark Portal and against the Iron Horde on their own home ground. What changes and surprises await us? Well, there are a few.
  • The level cap is raised to 100.
  • New dungeons unlocked, including Auchindoun, Skyreach, and Grimrail depot.
  • Garrisons! Start building your otherworldly dream military base now.
  • Level 91 and above can queue for MoP raid finder solo, as well as MoP scenarios, by talking to Lorewalker Fu, Lorewalker Shin, or Lorewalker Han at the Seat of Knowledge in Vale of Eternal Blossoms.
  • Character item levels are no longer scaled down in Proving Grounds. Creatures now scale up with the character's item level.
  • Heroic dungeons now require at least one character per account to have achieved Silver or higher in Proving Grounds, for the role being selected.
For all these changes and more, head over to the official site for the patch notes.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: Everything I do is a distraction right now

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.

Writing this Queue? A distraction. Showering, eating, experiencing the joys of nature? All distractions. My soul longs to be drowned in Draenor. Yet here I am writing this Queue. For love of you, dear WoW Insider readers who are likely currently playing in Draenor instead of reading it. Fie! A pox upon the frailties of my human body, my human brain, that cannot simply be submerged forever into the deep, deep digital waters of Warlords.

Anyway, the Queue. I believe in the before times we answered questions here. It shall be so again.

Merkavar asks:
How many hours from 90-100 you think. I'm not an energy drinking nutter with a 20 step plan for most efficient leveling. My plan is to go fast to 100 the first time then go back for the story etc on my many alts

Matt "Matticus" Low is already level 98. So it's reasonable to estimate 10 to 12 hours.

Read more →

Filed under: The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Relatively painless

If you know anything about the first night of a new expansion, you should know this - they rarely run completely smoothly. Tons of people all on and playing at once, servers strained to the breaking point, bug you thought got fixed on the beta back in new, destructive forms. That's why last night's midnight PST launch of Warlords of Draenor was so surprising to me - it had some server crashes, but really, for the first night of an expansion it was pretty painless. No gyrocopter quests to get in the way, just a lot of people running through Tanaan and into Draenor. Once I got into Shadowmoon Valley on my draenei warrior, I didn't notice any real stability issues. I played for two and a half hours, got sleepy, called it a night, and only had three server crashes. So yeah, relatively painless.

How was your night? Did you go see what you could see? Or did you wait?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

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