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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: The vengeance of Vindicator Maraad

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.

We don't exactly know a lot about Vindicator Maraad, despite the fact that he is one of the first draenei we ever saw, one of the featured characters in the original trailer for Burning Crusade. What small pieces we've seen of the Vindicator have been largely isolated to comics and short stories, capped with a small appearance in game that was never really expanded upon. For a character with a background like Maraad, it's almost a pity that he hasn't been properly utilized until now.

Lords of War aired its final episode earlier this week, featuring Maraad and more of his story -- a tragic tale of an era we've only really read about, but never actually seen. The brutality of Shattrath's slaughter was hard to watch, but harder to watch was Maraad's struggle -- a struggle shared by the remainder of the draenei race on Azeroth. But if Maraad is seeking vengeance, retribution, or vindication on Draenor, he may be sorely disappointed.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Garrison Followers and you

One of the largest and most highly-discussed features of Warlords of Draenor is the garrison -- a stronghold on Draenor that you get to construct and customize to your heart's content. Hand in hand with the garrison are a multitude of other things to look forward to -- missions, quests, blueprints, profession buildings, building bonuses, followers, and more. You aren't going to necessarily be spending a lot of time sitting around in your garrison, but you'll be ducking back to it periodically in between everything else there is to do on Draenor.

You can kind of think of your garrison as your own, personalized capital city in a way -- you can customize it with whatever buildings you want, and you can switch those buildings out if you decide you're better off with a different kind of building. As for your followers, they are the citizens of your garrison, the NPCs that wander around doing various tasks and spitting out conversations with passers-by. But followers are far more than just eye-candy for your garrison -- they are useful tools to help you get the most out of what the expansion has to offer.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Characters of Warcraft updates with Lords of War cast

The short animated series Lords of War reached its conclusion earlier this week, wrapping things up with a short tale featuring Vindicator Maraad. If you haven't had quite enough of the characters featured in the series, Blizzard has also updated the Characters of Warcraft section of the official site with pages featuring all of the players in Lords of War. Kargath, Grommash, Durotan, Kilroggm and Maraad all have new pages with character history expanded a little beyond what we've seen in Lords of War.

In addition to the background information and history, each page also includes a brand-new wallpaper with the featured character, and links to related content. Hopefully we'll see other entries added over time for the other orc warlords featured in the next expansion -- and more entries on the draenei residents of Draenor as well. I'd love to see pages for Akama, Nobundo, and Yrel, as well as this Draenor's version of Velen, and some of the other notable draenei we'll be adventuring alongside in the next expansion. If you liked Lords of War and you'd like to learn more, head to the official site and check out the new entries.


Filed under: News items, Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Garrison mission rewards at a glance

Players who aren't in the beta often have a simple question about garrison followers and their associated missions: what is the point? There are few resources that explain their purpose and what benefit they provide. The list of rewards below is by no means comprehensive and should only be taken as examples of variety. They're some of the items I've personally earned while dispatching follower missions on the beta. Follower missions also reward XP for your followers, items and equipment to increase the strength of your followers, and gold. Basic level 90 quests often award 50 gold, but it can often be much higher -- a level 100 rare quest, Blingtron's Secret Vault, gave me 500 gold. These missions are far from mandatory, but there's no reason not to do them. Assigning your followers to their respective tasks will only take a few minutes out of your day.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Reminder: Get your content cleared before 6.0.2

Blizzard posted a reminder earlier this week regarding several features that will either be changed or removed from the game entirely in patch 6.0.2. While we don't at present time have a release date set for the introductory patch of Warlords of Draenor, it would still be in your best interests to complete the content now, rather than waiting and possibly missing out for good. And of course, removed content means those achievements you've gathered will be filed away as either Legacy achievements, or Feats of Strength in the upcoming expansion.

Challenge Modes should be top priority if you've got your eyes on those Mists of Pandaria sets, because they will no longer be available as of 6.0.2 -- the phoenix mounts will also be going away, although players that have earned one of the mounts will have access to all variations. Players looking for heirloom weapons from Garrosh Hellscream should hop to it, as those will also be removed once Warlords of Draenor is released in November. In addition, the Brawler's Guild will be taking a hiatus once patch 6.0.2 hits -- the bosses and encounters in the Brawler's Guild will be re-tuned for level 100. However, if you've already gained access to the Brawler's Guild, you'll still retain that access when the new expansion launches -- no need to dig up another invite.

Lastly, if you have not started the legendary cloak quest chain by patch 6.0.2, you'll no longer be able to obtain it. Players already on the chain will still retain the quests, although they will be slightly altered, as the section of the chain that requires players to collect Valor Points will be gone altogether with the removal of Valor Points in 6.0.2. For more information on changes and removals with the arrival of both patch 6.0.2 and Warlords of Draenor itself, take a look at Blizzard's full post on the official site.

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Do you want more Lords of War?

Yesterday was the fifth and final installment of the short series Lords of War, which avoided featuring another orc warlord and instead gave us a glimpse of Vindicator Maraad's past. As a finale, it was just the right emotional gut punch to push us forward into the next expansion -- although I found myself wondering about the other orcs who were not featured. Certainly we'll be seeing them in other lore material introduced as the expansion is released and moved on, but it's not quite the same, is it?

I pretty much fell in love with the moving illustration style of lore presentation we've been getting since it was introduced with the Burdens of Shaohao. Let's face it, this is a really cool, evocative way to present some of the back story and lore that we don't see in game. But I find myself, particular with the latest series, wanting just a little more. I'd love to see tales of the draenei from the Draenor we're traveling to in Warlords -- Akama, Nobundo, Velen, Yrel -- or even just more back story on Garrosh and his interaction with the orcs of the world.

Or Ner'zhul. A whole series dedicated to Ner'zhul and the Shadowmoon would be pretty sweet.

What did you guys think of the series? Do you want more? Are there characters whose stories you wish had been told? Are there tales you still really want to see? Do you want more Lords of War -- or is there another series of tales you'd like to see come to life?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Steamy Romance Novels: Now with illustrations

One of my favorite parts of any new expansion has just gotten an upgrade, of sorts. It's no secret that I love the Steamy Romance Novels that have been a staple in the game since Burning Crusade. Mists of Pandaria added not one, but two new selections -- although one of them, I'm In Love With A Robot, is too smudged to actually read. Needless to say, part of me has been wondering if the savage lands of Draenor will, in fact, contain one of these literary masterpieces for us to collect. I was both surprised and delighted to see that not only do we get a new book, but all the books in the collection have received visual upgrades.

That's right -- every readable Steamy Romance Novel now has illustrations along with the tantalizingly silly bits of story. That's some pretty loving attention to detail for what are essentially a bunch of vendor-trash books that most people won't favor with more than a glance. But more importantly, a new novel has been added to the collection: A Steamy Romance Novel: Savage Passions. And even more importantly than that, a new method has been added of obtaining all of the Steamy Romance Novels ... just in case you were missing one from your collection.

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Filed under: News items, Humor, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: A great many words

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.

So I missed the seventh anniversary of The Care and Feeding of Warriors, which makes sense, because I don't get to write it any more. It's strange because for the longest time, it was the lynchpin of my week here at WoW Insider - every Thursday night (like tonight, as I write this) I would sit down and I would think to myself 'Okay, what next? What are we going to talk about next?' and then I would do it. In a way the Friday Queue has taken that role, but it's not the same - as maddening as it could be to try and come up with another 1k words about warriors week in, week out, it was also something I really loved doing and it's something I dearly miss. Still, I'm grateful y'all let me take a whack at your questions week in, week out.

I have nothing negative to say about paladins. They do their thing, I do mine. Live and let live, you know?

Anyway, here is a Queue for you. Let's talk about World of Warcraft. Maybe there will be some warrior questions. I would like that. (Yes, I know they discovered a new species of Ankylosaur this week.)

Krhe asks:
Q4TQ: I'm not sure if this has ever been asked or answered but once we replace our Legendary cloaks in WoD will we ever to be able to xmog our new cloak to have the same visual effects as our Legendary?

I can't say never but as of this morning (1 am eastern) the answer on the beta was a resounding no. You can't mog to legendaries and you can't mog special spell effects from one item onto another. So even if you could mog your legendary cloak appearance over your new cloak, it wouldn't duplicate the special effect of the cloak.

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Filed under: The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: Through The Dark Portal Again

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.

Okay. Up front and with no fanfare - we're going to spoiler country. Huge, gigantic, terrifying spoilers for Warlords of Draenor and its Tanaan Jungle opening experience aplenty. I'm not going to waste time being coy or making cryptic statements about which guy is doing what. I'm going to drop spoilers, lots of them, like a rockslide so if that's soething you don't want to read, this is not the post for you. I've now burned an entire opening paragraph warning you about these spoilers, so you have absolutely no excuse for not avoiding them if you're of a mind to. '

Warlords of Draenor opens with a crisis at the Dark Portal. A new threat, a massive armed force of maniacal orcs have stormed the Portal and poured out into Azeroth, destroying both the Horde and Alliance bases in the area and making alliances with the local ogres. Once this threat is dealt with, it becomes clear that as long as the Portal remains open on the other end, the threat will continue. And so, once again, Azeroth must send forces through the Portal and onto an alien world. All of this is very familiar, and yet, once they set foot on the other side, these heroes of Azeroth find not the blasted and surreal Hellfire Peninsula, but rather the Tanaan Jungle, as terrifyingly lush as it was in distant memories of the time before the Rise of Gul'Dan's Horde.

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

Blizzard's second garrison preview focuses on buildings

So it's Garrison Preview time again, and this time, we're being told about buildings. Wondering how the Garrison Tier system affects your buildings? How large and small plots work? How you can progress your garrison and gain different buildings and new plots to put them on? Wonder no more, for the preview explains all of that for you.
Your Garrison mainly comprises buildings and the Followers who inhabit them. As your Garrison grows, so will your options and opportunities to use these assets to your advantage on Draenor. The Followers that populate your Garrison will grow in number and power, and what they can do for you depends which buildings you choose to construct in your base.
So if you're interested in how this new feature so central to the Warlords of Draenor experience is going to play out, head on over to the official site right now and take a gander at the write-up.

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

Blizzard releases system requirements for Warlords of Draenor

There are a lot of updates on the way in Warlords of Draenor, and with all the updates to models and environments and graphics and UI, a lot of players have been wondering just what they'll need to run the next expansion without a hitch. The good news is that Blizzard has finally released the system requirements for Warlords of Draenor, both minimum and recommended. The bad news is, if you're still on an older system, you might be needing an update to run the next installment in World of Warcraft's ongoing story.

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Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

39 things about patch 6.0

Not ready for patch 6.0 yet? Our good friend Panser is here to help! TradeChat presents 39 things to know about patch 6.0. Even if you've been keeping up with all of the latest news, we recommend giving the video a watch -- there might be a few nuggets in there you didn't know.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Scenarios, daily quests, and events in Warlords

It's true that scenarios still exist in Warlords of Draenor, but it's also true that their existence is radically altered - no more the easy three person content you can queue for at max level for easy rewards. Now, you may be trumpeting this as a grand thing, and in some ways you may even be right, but scenarios and heroic scenarios served a purpose in Mists and I'm starting to be concerned about their removal and the change in dungeons. One of the things to keep in mind is, with the removal of valor points and the conversion of many items to costing gold, we're essentially taking out the mechanism that once served as a consolation prize when it was first introduced back in The Burning Crusade. Furthermore, by removing scenarios as content players can essentially run whenever and wherever they wish, we're winnowing down options at endgame. The Timeless Isle model for endgame content has its flaws, and converting all of Warlords to it has some potential pitfalls.

For starters, the heavy de-emphasis on daily quests combined with the lack of scenarios and the placing of heroic dungeons behind the proving ground barrier removes a solid amount of low pressure, easily accessed content. Considered separately these ideas aren't an issue, but when you put them all together you can start to see one problem - they remove choices for players, and in doing so offer no replacement. This may be by design. Some players lament that there's too much to do in Mists of Pandaria's endgame. Starved for choice is a real phenomenon, and it may be a good move to thin out those options. But it may not.

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

Will running five player content be viable in Warlords?

I actually really enjoy five player dungeons. One of my disappointments in Mists of Pandaria was that we never got any five mans beyond the start of the expansion and that they basically became just a means to farm some valor - since no new fives were introduced, they couldn't be tuned to in any way keep up with gear from Throne of Thunder much less Siege of Orgrimmar. They became laughably easy unless you were running them as Challenge Modes, ultimately.

And this bothers me because I'm one of those people who feels like five player content never really had lived up to its promise in World of Warcraft. Especially now that raid dungeons have become so accessible, with LFR and flex making it easier than ever for almost all players to get some level of raiding if they want it, I've always felt like fives need a refocusing. Having normal and heroic difficulty fives really separate with better rewards for fives is a good start, but where Challenge Modes didn't grab me was in their completely cosmetic rewards. I always felt like CM's should offer gear on par with at least normal mode raiding - a group that decided to focus exclusively on Challenge Modes or some other form of very hard five player content should be able to progress their character not just visually, but actually as well.

Why do I feel this way? Well, I'll tell you.

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

How will Warlords affect low-level characters?

It's something that's fairly easy to forget in all the talk of item squishes and character boosts, but Warlords of Draenor is going to make a lot of significant changes to how it feels to play a low level character and level up. That's why forum threads like this one interest me so much, because it's important to get that low level balance right. Yes, we have the boost, we have things like heirlooms, but in the end the game has to function at low levels for people without them. If it doesn't or can't, then people who try the game on trial or who decide to start an alt after using the boost are going to end up feeling lost, and that's a feeling that leads to people not playing at all.

So I decided to roll a low level character and level him without heirlooms on the beta, just to try it out for myself. And so far, I feel like they've made pretty decent strides in balancing things out - I'm at level 7 now after a half hour and I could probably get to ten after another 20 minutes. I am, however, concerned with what Kalyeatrish says about the level 8-9 relative weak spot in leveling. If players can't get stuff done at those levels, it'll be a hard slog to get to 10. And most people who try out WoW don't get past 10 - that's a barrier to entry you don't want to imbalance when you make game changes.

Hopefully it's something Blizzard keeps watching, and I hope everyone in the beta manages to find time to roll a character and test it out at low levels - it may seem like a waste of time, but it's actually incredibly important for the game long term.

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

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