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Posts with tag Ashram

Warlords of Draenor: More details on the Ashran faction hubs

So in case you didn't hear, this morning we learned that in Warlords of Draenor, the faction hubs will be moving from Karabor and Bladespire Fortress to Ashran. Now CM Lore has posted to the official forums with a more detailed post explaining exactly what's entailed in the change and why it was made.
Lore - Hubs no longer Karabor/Bladespire
Okay, there's a LOT of misunderstandings and misinformation floating around, so let me try to clarify what I can.

Warlords of Draenor's story is about the people of Azeroth (namely, the Alliance and the Horde) venturing into an unknown world and building up a force strong enough to take out an enemy stronger than anything they've encountered before, on that enemy's own turf. While there are certainly some alliances to be made along the way, and those are definitely major parts of the story, the core theme is about you and your faction fighting for survival.

So, as development continued, we came to the realization that it just doesn't make sense for the Horde and Alliance to spend so much energy and resources building up a stronghold on Draenor, only to base their efforts out of someone else's city. We're not helping the Draenei or Frostwolves fight off the Iron Horde – they're helping us. The Alliance and Horde both have major bases of operation on Draenor. That should be where they're working from.

That, along with the continued development of Garrisons into the overall quest and story flow of the expansion, led us to the decision to develop the Horde and Alliance bases on Ashran into the major faction hubs instead of Bladespire and Karabor. Promoting the world PvP area on Ashran is a nice perk, but it wasn't a factor in making that decision.

That said, the Temple of Karabor and Bladespire Fortress are still there. We haven't removed them or anything like that. You won't be able to use your bank or check your auctions there, but they're still fully built home cities for the Karabor Draenei and Frostwolf Orcs, respectively. You'll still be able to explore them in their full glory.

As to the Alliance and Horde staging areas on Ashran, allow me to lay out a few key facts to hopefully allay some concerns:
  • They're located on Ashran as a geographical location on the map, but they're not part of the Ashran world PvP zone. They won't be subjected to the realm coalescing we're using to keep Ashran's PvP area populated, and they won't flag you for PvP on non-PvP realms.
  • We've also made some major improvements to the way PvP flagging works on non-PvP realms that removes "accidental flagging" from mistargeted abilities or ground effects. Unless you manually flag yourself by typing /pvp, you will simply not be able to attack enemy players, or heal friendly players who have flagged themselves.
  • They're populated with guards, and the only land-based entrance is directly through the Ashran world PvP zone (including a major fortress). It's certainly possible for someone from another faction to attack it, but it's not any easier to do so than it is to attack the enemy faction's shrine in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.
  • There will be a fast travel option between the staging areas and your Garrison. You can pop over there quickly, conduct your business, and leave again if you like.

This isn't a question of whether or not Bladespire and Karabor are cities. They are. It's just a question of whether the portals to Orgrimmar or Stormwind are there or somewhere else. You'll still be able to explore them, they'll still be fully populated, and they're still going to be every bit as beautiful as they would have been with a Transmog NPC. We're looking forward to them ourselves!


This is a well thought out and cogent explanation of the process behind the decision. However, as a player, it's not a decision I personally like -- one of the real draws for me as a player was the idea of getting to have Karabor as my home city, with the portals and vendors mentioned above. I want the freedom to never see Ashran, if that's what I decide to do. I understand the reasoning, I simply don't agree with it, and I hope it's rolled back.

For now, though, Ashran is where the Horde and Alliance home cities will be located in Warlords of Draenor.


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

The tension between balance and player interest

I'm looking forward to Ashram, the new PvP island zone in Warlords that seems to combine elements from zones such as the Timeless Isle, Wintergrasp, and the old days of world PvP. So I tend to go looking for information on it, which is where I found the following.
With cross-realm groups being possible on Ashram, this is a perfect example of the ways the game has to balance what most players will do vs. what some players will do - balance the min-maxing attitude vs. the more common, and more often executed, use of a feature or game element. Ashram as it stands will allow players to group cross realm - this is intended so that players who have characters on separate realms (my wife and I, for instance, often would run the Timeless Isle on characters that were on separate realms) can still go to Ashram. This is a good and fun use of cross-realm grouping. But there's a potential down side to this.

Since cross-realm grouping is possible, we know the next step - something like oQueue that allows you to put together a group of 40 players and go destroy Ashram on an already imbalanced server. If a certain server is already heavily skewed towards the Alliance, putting together a 40 player group (since Ashram exists in the world and not in a raid instance) and just destroying any hapless Horde you come across, or vice versa. Even if you don't pick a server with a faction imbalance, it's still feasible that a big raid group could end up owning Ashram for an extended period of time, and using players that aren't even on the server.

Decisions in the game's design are always made between these two poles - between the ease of abuse, and the benefit it brings to individual players. Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, things don't work out like we'd hope. Reforging, as an example, falls into the 'possible player imbalanced use trumps player convenience' category.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Warlords of Draenor

How PvP gear works in Warlords

Say you want to PvP in Warlords of Draenor -- how are you going to go about gearing? How is gear going to work? Well, Blizzard's Lore went and put a whole lot of information about that very thing into this huge post, and it's very much worth reading. Because it explains:
  • PvP gear with now scale up in power when you enter a PvP zone (battleground, arena, Ashram) or when you are attacked by another player. This is intended to remove the sometimes confusing extra stats we've seen proliferate since Cataclysm.
  • All gear, even PvE gear, will scale up in designated PvP areas in a similar fashion. It won't eclipse PvP gear or its scaling, but the intent is that PvE players who are poorly geared won't immediately explode in PvP content.
  • The exception is mythic quality PvE gear. It's ilevel is high enough that it will be slightly downscaled in PvP zones in order to keep Conquest gear the best option for PvP.
  • PvP will now reward strongboxes for completing objectives and winning matches, and these strongboxes can contain rewards up to and including actual PvP gear.
  • There will now be three tiers of PvP gear - starting gear, earned via strongboxes, with a fast accumulation rate, veterans gear, from both strongboxes and honor, and finally gladiator's gear from conquest points.
For the full details, Lore's post is chock full of information. It also teases an upcoming post about how Ashram is going to be implemented, which I'm interested in reading.

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

World of WarCrafts: Sounds like a whole new Stratholme


World of WarCrafts spotlights art and creativity by WoW players, including fan art, cooking, comics, cosplay, music and fan fiction. Show us how you express yourself by contacting our tips line (attention: World of WarCrafts) -- not-for-profit work only, please.

In this week's World of WarCrafts, the "dark and haunting tale" of Stratholme comes alive with a custom audio build from Ashram of Darksorrow-EU. Ashram paid a visit to the burning city, capturing it on video and then setting it to all-new audio - from spell effects to NPC voicing to birds cawing in the background, all set against an atmospheric soundtrack that injects an eerie edge of desperation to an instance that's become old hat.

Ashram brings a good bit of recording and audio experience to the project, having spent several years singing in a band and recording most of their material. "This is the first time I've ever attempted something like this with a full rebuild of a game's audio," he admitted. "This project was much more complex than anything I'd ever attempted before."

We visited with Ashram (thanks for the tip, Foulbourne!) to learn how he brought dread and despair back to old Stratholme.

Read more →

Filed under: Machinima, Fan stuff, Features, Interviews, World of WarCrafts

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