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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Argus

As much as I love Warlords of Draenor's focus on draenei and draenei culture, I'm very much interested in the world the draenei originally come from, the world of Argus. Especially when we're told several times that the draenei crystalline magical technology worked better there - that they had vast cities, an elaborate and storied magical culture so amazing that it attracted the attention of Sargeras the fallen Titan himself. I've wanted to get to see Argus for years, ever since I ran into members of the Argus Wake outside of Alterac.

What does the planet look like now? Is it a blasted ruin, or do its towers still rise imposing, as the bastions of the eredar warlocks? I'm just totally nuts about the idea of getting to see it all. As much as I'm jazzed for Draenor, part of me wishes we'd gone to Argus instead.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Artcraft previews the male draenei model


It's no secret that I love the draenei -- with getting a chance to play through Shadowmoon Valley on the Beta, they've leapt into the lead and are now my favorite race. Now, thanks to Blizzard's official Artcraft previews, we get a chance to look at the new draenei male. Having experienced it on the beta (as a work in progress, mind you) I already felt like it was a vast improvement. The proportions, the expressions, even the way the facial tendrils move is much, much better.

Head on over to the official site and take a look for yourself.

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

Warlords of Draenor: Garrison achievements

Moonfang
The latest Warlords of Draenor build, meticulously datamined as always by the fine folks at Wowhead, reveals a ton in the way of Garrison achievements. Seriously, there are oodles of points to be earned in and around your Garrison. You can get achievements for Garrison buildings, Garrison Followers, Garrison levels, Garrison missions, and Garrison invasions. The glut of ways to earn achievement points should have dedicated achievement hunters licking their chops in anticipation.

The 700 skill point profession achievements are also listed with Garrison achievements, which doesn't come as much of a surprise. The majority of the achievements focus on Followers, missions, and invasions, but there are also plenty associated with constructing and upgrading the buildings themselves. The complete list of datamined Garrison achievements is after the break.

Read more →

Filed under: Achievements, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: New Ashran achievements

Wowhead has datamined a whole bunch of new achievements, and the ones for Ashran interested me greatly - since I did some level 100 PvP recently (I didn't do very well at it, but I think at least part of that is my sheer unfamiliarity with it at this point) I'm definitely interested in how Ashran turns out.

I assume one of those two Take Them Out achievements will eventually be switched to Alliance, and hopefully captain will be spelled correctly. (The achievements have different ID's.) It seems the Alliance gets to summon something called Fangraal (presumably this fellow), and there's something called The Everbloom where Kirin-Tor Battle Mages can die while fighting something called Yalnu (since there's an achievement for them not dying, I assume it's fairly easy for that to happen) - these are pretty tantalizing hints for what we're going to see once we get in there. I'm wondering if there's a Horde equivalent to Fangraal - possibly this Lifeless Ancient Protector, or this Ancient Protector (both are relatively close in ID and come up on a search for 'Horde Guardian')? Time will tell.
  • Ashran Victory: Kill the opposing faction Commander while controlling all points on the Road of Glory.
  • Bounty Hunter: Loot all the following off Alliance player corpses:
  • Bounty Hunter: Loot all the following off Horde player corpses:
  • Tour Of Duty: Complete each Event at the following areas listed below.
  • Just For Me: Activate a Class Specific Book Epic Item found within Ashran.
  • High-value Targets: Defeat all of the creatures within Ashran listed below.
  • Opperation Counterattack: Defeat Fangraal within 5 minutes of it being summoned by the Alliance.
  • Grand Theft, 1st Degree: Loot 100 Artifact Fragments from an enemy Player, and turn them in
  • Grand Theft, 2nd Degree: Loot 500 Artifact Fragments from an enemy Player, and turn them in
  • Grand Theft, 3rd Degree: Loot 1000 Artifact Fragments from an enemy Player, and turn them in
  • Divide And Conquer: Kill 5000 enemy Players anywhere outside the Road of Glory within Ashran.
  • Weed Wacker: Defeat Yalnu without any Kirin Tor Battle-Mages dying in The Everbloom on Heroic Difficulty.
  • Take Them Out: Defeat all of the Horde Captians within The Road of Glory listed below.
  • Take Them Out: Defeat all of the Horde Captians within The Road of Glory listed below.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Achievements, Warlords of Draenor

Why Testing Matters 2: The Beta Tank Bug

I did a post a while back on why beta testing matters. The point was, no matter how we might wish that the game could be finished and rushed out, you have to test this stuff in a controlled environment first. And this particular bug is a perfect example of why that is. Because on the beta servers, tank specs were unkillable gods.

We discovered a teeny tiny little issue with the Battle Fatigue debuff. Turns out, it was set to increase tank damage taken by -25%. Yes, that's an increase of negative 25%... which means that Battle Fatigue was actually reducing the damage tank-specced characters were taking.

This should now be fixed on Beta servers, which should make quite a difference. Let us know how things feel now.

That kind of error is exactly why the beta process is necessary and important, but moreover it's why it's kind of awesome - you see, stuff like this is terrible for game balance, but it's also astonishingly fun to discover and experience a few times. Yes, as a tester you should absolutely report it as soon as possible. But in order to report it reliably (it's hard to know for sure what's actually happening, after all, your combat log doesn't report that you're taking less damage) you need to repeat it. And that's really pretty awesome.

It's better -- far better, in fact -- that we get this stuff found out before it goes live. Even though I'm sure all of us with a tank spec kind of secretly wish it didn't. The feeling of being overpowered wouldn't keep us from the crushing disappointment when they found and fixed it.


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

Know Your Lore: Shadowmoon Valley and the Dark Star

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.

Warning - there will be spoilers for Warlords of Draenor in this post. Specifically for the Shadowmoon Valley zone.

One of the most fascinating things for me about the unfolding lore in this first zone is the new vision of the draenei it provides us. Far from the ragtag band of embittered survivors clinging on to a crashed dimension ship, the draenei of Warlords are a proud society of expatriated beings who are caught between conflicting impulses. Do they fight to hold on to the world they were forced to leave and its ancient ways, or do they adopt new ones to become more fully part of the world they find themselves on? And how many times have they had to make this choice?

As you quest through the zone, you come to discover that Shadowmoon Valley wasn't chosen as a draenei holy spot through random chance - the interaction between the draenei and the orcs in this area presages developments in other parts of the world. Just as the draenei have had to choose how they will adapt to a new world, the orcs of the Shadowmoon Clan were forced to contend with a power they did not understand. Each exists in a kind of opposition to the other, and the choices of one affect how the other develops.

Read more →

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

Watcher on Raid Consumables and Enchants in Warlords

One of the things that people concern themselves with when raiding progression is all the little things you can do to eke out just that extra little bit more. However, with the advent of Warlords of Draenor and its sweeping systems changes, stat squishes and ability pruning, there seems to be some confusion about what players will and won't be able to do to get that extra bit. Yes, reforging is gone, but Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas assures us you will still be able to enchant and gem your gear. And also, raid consumables like food and flasks totally are going to be around in Warlords.

What seems to be confusing people is that enchanting and gemming are getting a slim-down. There will be fewer enchant slots and gems on gear, but they're not going to be removed.
It's important to keep in mind that people will still have the ability to tweak and go for incremental performance increases in these ways. Some players may choose to use these on a frequent basis, but for the most part, it's expected that most players will be able to use more gear immediately on getting it with the new system.

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

Breakfast Topic: Unexpected revelations

There won't be any spoilers for Warlords of Draenor in this Breakfast Topic. I want to talk about the feeling I got when I played through, not actually tell you what happened, so you don't need to fear.

One of the things that I, as an unabashed draenei lover, got to experience in Shadowmoon Valley during the alpha/beta test was that of several holy crap moments one right after the other. Characters that were supposedly dead long before were alive. Specific plotlines exposed the origins of enemies from The Burning Crusade or at least shed some light on them. There's a whole new aspect to draenei culture that has never really been covered in any detail before, because all the draenei we know were the last remnants, refugees from a genocide that hasn't happened to these draenei, and may never happen to them now. It's kind of like story fireworks, in a way. In a good way, but still, very surprising to see it. We didn't really know anything about the day to day of these people -- traveling in Shadowmoon, you see roads they built, buildings they constructed. They had a whole society, and for the first time here it is, ready for you to step in and defend it.

Frostfire Ridge has some surprises as well, if you're an old school Horde player and interested in the whos and wheres of certain Horde figures. But for me, it's all about SMV.

Do you pay attention to these kinds of story beats, or are you completely uninterested?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: Resurgence of the Infinite Dragonflight

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.

Long ago, the Titans empowered five dragons with unique abilities and powers, entrusting to them the protection of Azeroth itself. While each had their own specialization with its own odd foibles, none were as strange as the task set to Nozdormu. Aman'Thul, Highfather of the Pantheon, entrusted Nozdormu with the task of watching over time -- to guard the myriad paths of time and keep them pure. A strange task, to be certain, and one with a heck of a lot of power involved. To keep Nozdormu from abusing that power or thinking that he answered to no one, he was given the knowledge of the exact moment of his demise.

Yet somewhere in one of those myriad timelines, this apparently wasn't enough. Somewhere, somewhen, Deathwing prevailed and brought about the Hour of Twilight, leaving Nozdormu a haunted, twisted version of his former self -- a version that cared little for the restrictions or rules bestowed by the Titans, and cared much more for preserving his own skin and preventing his own death. The twisted version called himself Murozond, first of the Infinite Dragonflight, intent on bending time and changing events solely for the purpose of evading his inevitable demise. We defeated Murozond in End Time, and prevented the Hour of Twilight from taking place. But have we actually saved Nozdormu? Have we secured time itself?

Read more →

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

Warlords of Draenor: Random quest item upgrades

One of the most interesting changes to quest gearing in Warlords of Draenor is that you have a chance for any item you get as a quest reward to end up upgrading from a quest green to a blue (rare) quality drop, and even an epic (purple) on rare occasions. For example, the Karabor Honor Guard Legguards are a green quest reward usually. As you can see, they're not a green for me here, because I got lucky. They're not an earth-shattering upgrade, mind you (although with the stat squish, a few points is a lot bigger than it used to be) but it's still a nice little bump.

You don't have to do anything for this to happen - it's completely out of your hands. It may happen, it may not. Purely from my own experience it's not that uncommon for greens to end up as blues (I've had it happen four or five times) but these are the first epic I've seen on my second playthrough in SMV. Your own rates will vary, of course.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: New model adjustments in the works

There have been quite a few rumblings online about the new character models, pointing out that the models themselves all appear to have the same facial expressions with little of the variation we're seeing on live servers. Senior Art Director Chris G. Robinson hopped on Twitter yesterday to address the concerns, pointing out that the new models on the beta are by no means final, and of course still subject to change. In the case of the human female model, base animations are still undergoing adjustments to bring them closer to matching the original base structure and expressed emotion.



The base animation is the default expression on a model's face when they are not in any kind of active motion. It's the expression your character has when they are simply standing around in town, or on the character creation screen. Currently, the human female models in the beta are all wearing the same expression while they're standing around. With updates to the base animation, and the tweaks to eyebrows and other facial features as tweeted by Robinson, the models should once again appear just as diverse as they do on live servers.


Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Nights may get darker

Night time comparison
Once upon a time, nightfall in Azeroth meant that things got truly dark--sometimes spookily so. For whatever reason, at some point Blizzard scaled back on the in-game lack of night lights, and brightened our nocturnal adventuring. Plenty of players have been clamoring for a good long while for a return to the dark and eerie Azerothian nights, and it seems as though their wishes may soon be coming true. In the following tweet, Lead Game Designer Cory Stockton indicates that some kind of darker night-time atmosphere is on its way potentially as soon as patch 6.0.
My personal hope is for some sort of toggle or slider in the graphics options, so individual players can choose how dark and foreboding they want their in-game landscapes to be. This has been a solution proposed by many, and I truly hope that's what's coming our way. Nonetheless, I'm eager to see whatever solution Blizzard has come up with.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Mount Tab description updates

The latest Warlords of Draenor beta build expanded the descriptions listed in the re-designed mount tab. Nearly every mount in the game now has an entry with a little piece of trivia. There are actually some interesting little flavor bits of lore contained in the new entries, including slightly more in-depth information as to the mount's origins, interesting quotes or beliefs about the creatures, and of course where it can be built or obtained. At the moment, not every mount has a listing for where you can find it -- but given that there are already entries that do mention things in detail, it seems like we'll see that added in a later beta build.

Of course, it's the humorous entries that really stick out in the new listing. How can you seriously describe a giant rooster? You can't. Check out the gallery below for some of the best selections from the newly added flavor text.




Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: What is even happening I don't even know

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.

Seriously.

I have no idea. I don't... I can't... what is happening? It's a corgi made of lava. They're actually calling it a Molten Corgi I can't even. Look at that. Am I to believe that this is Ragnaros' pet corgi? That after I killed him, his sweet little pet corgi was left an orphan? What is going on?

Let's just do some questions because I just don't know. This throws my entire concept of reality into question. Is the volcano dog somehow related to July 4th?

electresserin asks:
I haven't gotten into the beta yet, but it looks like the opening quests function as a "MEET THE CAST!" type experience. Do they bring in all of the major Draenor players?

All of them, no. You meet Vindicator Maraad (he steps through from our universe and is there from the start), Yrel and Exarch Maladaar. Once you get to Shadowmoon Valley you start meeting the rest of them, introduced by the three you met in Tanaan. Similarly, the Horde sees some significant classic orc figures (Drek'Thar, for example) and a lot of the Iron Horde make an appearance.

Read more →

Filed under: The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Sometimes I just run around

There are a lot of places in World of Warcraft. Sometimes, I log on late and just go around exploring them. I like to fly around Ahn'Qiraj, or check out the area around Stratholm (sometimes I kill stuff, sometimes I just look around) -- I once spent an entire night just hanging out in Uldum looking at the cool architecture and flying around exploring. Heck, I still miss wall-walking because my wife once organized an expedition for our entire guild back in the pre-BC days, taking us all around the Wetlands and eventually showing us how to get to the road to nowhere high above Menethil Harbor.

One of the reasons I'm looking forward to Warlords is that, so far the two zones I've seen have been crazy fun to explore (if you watch out for the level 100 ogre elites near the top of Frostfire, anyway) and I'm looking forward to exploration making a bit of a comeback. So I ask you - what's your favorite hidden corner in WoW? Or do you ever just log and go for a ride?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

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