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Posts with tag Ashran

The Queue: Ashran and avocados

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

Today's Queue gets a little meta. You've been warned.

Toro asked:

Now that the Ashran hub is in-game, what do you think?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

Breakfast Topic: Has Ashran caught your interest?

Ashran, Warlords of Draenor's world PVP zone, has been hyped as one of the most exciting locations in the expansion. While the zone only opened up for play on the beta last night, it's been clear throughout development that many lessons from the game's past have been taken to heart in its creation. The devs have cited pulling not only from prior PVP areas such as Halaa and Wintergrasp, but also the Timeless Isle, which contained a potpourri of activities across the spectrum of gameplay styles.

Are you interested, though? Despite the great efforts put into the zone, I feel as if it's still only going to interest players who have primarily been PVPing all along. Faction-hubs-in-Ashran aside, I'm not sure that's necessarily a problem. I can hardly fault PVPers for getting new content when every other zone on Draenor is clearly dedicated to PVE. As someone who doesn't PVP at all, I have to see more Ashran before I can say with confidence whether or not I'll play there when the game goes live, but I imagine my participating will be much like Wintergrasp and Tol Barad. That is, I'll participate a handful of times, remember why I don't PVP, and never return.

Even the faction hubs being on Ashran may not be compelling enough to take me back there on a regular basis. I didn't like the Shrines in Mists of Pandaria very much. My hearthstone remained in Stormwind for the entire expansion. I just might be in Stormwind for another one.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Ashran preview

The zone preview train keeps chugging along. First we had Talador, Gorgrond followed, and now we're given a look at Ashran.

Built upon the remnants of an ogre civilization, Ashran looks deceptively like a nice enough island just off the coast of Tanaan Jungle. And it probably would be a lovely place to visit if not for the never-ending tug-of-war between the Horde and Alliance taking place in the central region of the zone. Then again, this might just be just your kind of excursion.

In Ashran, the Horde and the Alliance continue their long tradition of ruining everything they touch. Though home to the new faction hubs, Ashran is primarily a PVP zone with "world PVP" in mind -- though it maintains the essential elements of a battleground. Objectives are based around a tug-of-war, though it involves pushing rather than pulling. Each faction pushes down a lane toward the opposing faction's base, capturing points along the way. A powerful Ogre King awaits players at the central hub, aiding whichever faction can prove their might. A faction with dwindling resources will spawn NPC captains to aid them, some of which are named for known PVP personalities in the community.

Beyond the battleground elements, Ashran also has several other points of interest that will aid their faction's efforts and provide currently unspecified rewards. The zone preview also explains there are numerous personal goals littered throughout the island, encouraging players to venture out and find them -- luring more players into potential PVP conflict.

Head over to Battle.net for the full details.


Filed under: News items, 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

Blizzard's vision and player choice

Temple of Karabor assaulted
This past Thursday, Cory Stockton (aka Mumper) answered a simple question on Twitter. He told players that the faction hubs would no longer be located in the Temple of Karabor and Bladespire Fortress, but on the island of Ashran.

The firestorm of controversy that followed seemed to take Blizzard by surprise. Lore took to the forums to explain the change. He gave Blizzard's reasoning, including the lore explanation for the new hubs. Far from mollifying the player base, it only served to inflame those who disagreed with the shift in locale.

My response is this: Why not both? Why must one city or the other be the One Hub to Rule Them All? Why can't we, the players, choose which city to bind our hearthstone to -- without being punished for it? Why does there have to be one "right" answer on such a basic quality of life issue? Let us choose and use phasing so we only see our own choice as a hub.

Although I don't condone the extremely negative way that some reacted to the announcement, the anger didn't surprise me at all. It points to a problem that has loomed over WoW for a long time: lack of player options and personalization.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Where did you want your home city on Draenor?

Yesterday, we found out that our faction hubs will not, as previously thought, be placed in Shadowmoon Valley and Frostfire Ridge. Instead they'll be nestled in the zone of Ashran, also home and hub of a world PvP wonderland. That said, Karabor and Bladespire will still remain cities for the draenei and the Frostwolf respectively -- they simply won't be homes for us, the players who arrived on this alternate universe world and promptly attempted to tear a chunk into the Iron Horde.

I have to say I find myself a little disappointed in that decision, but only from the perspective of my Alliance character. While Bladespire was pretty cool, it was nowhere near as jaw-dropping as Karabor. Shadowmoon Valley is utterly breathtaking and beautiful in every way, and I can't wait to plop down a garrison on live when the expansion is released, and will probably spend the majority of my time there. From the perspective of my Horde character, I'm hoping that Ashran isn't a snowy wasteland, because I'd like some gorgeous scenery to look at. Sure, some people might find snowscapes beautiful -- I'm not one of those people.

Obviously we now know exactly where our hubs are going to be. And so far, we've only seen a few of the zones Draenor has to offer. We still haven't gotten a really good look at Nagrand, or the Spires of Arak, or any of the other zones available to explore. But just for the sake of asking -- if you could have your faction hub anywhere on Draenor, where would you want it to be?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Warlords of Draenor: Faction hubs moved to outskirts of Ashran


Cory Stockton, Lead WoW Designer, dropped a big change on Twitter last night. The capital cities in Draenor, which were previously in Karabor and Bladespire, are now being moved to the outskirts of Ashran. Ashran is the new PvP zone that we'll be getting -- the one that Blizzard is putting a lot of effort into in an attempt to fix PvP and make it more attractive to a wider audience.

This move is clearly designed to get people closer to one of the expansion's major draws, yet Stockton goes on to say that PvP will not be forced. I've bolded that because it's really important -- it means that you won't have to PvP just because you're near the zone, and it's not Blizzard's intention to make you PvP to get into your capital city.

An interesting change for sure, and one that is putting PvP, forced or not, front-and-center in this expansion.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Build your own fel reaver

According to Brian Holinka, we'll be getting something that any old school AV players will remember for Ashran, the new PvP zone in Warlords - namely, the ability to create a mob that makes the other faction's day considerably worse.

It just gets my Ivus senses tingling, you know?

I realize that this may be the nostalgia talking (oh, what a potent drug that can be) but man, I hope it actually is a giant fel reaver. I have no idea how that would even be possible, but I still hope for it. Ashran is shaping up to be something we've not had in the game in a long time, a true free for all, and I'm very interested.

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

Warlords of Draenor: New flavor items, weapons, and armor

For the Alliance!
Our fellows over at Wowhead have posted the datamined details of Warlords of Draenor's latest build, including a number of intriguing items from Ashran, WoD's new world PvP zone. The quest items, doubtlessly linked to killing members of the opposite faction, are particularly fun. Thanks to the Tauren Hoof, you can enjoy your favorite gelatin-based chewy candies, or collect and grind Draenei Tails to help spice up your love life. You know, if you don't mind some mindless slaughter (and this is Warcraft, so of course we don't!). Other new faction quest items include the Severed Night Elf Head, Worgen Snout, and Forsaken Brains.

Even more interesting than these are the epic-quality PvP weapons pulled from the latest build. Not many are listed so far; just a priest staff (Nozaro, Staff of the Heavens), and a paladin mace (Rowyn, the Jailer's Gavel). Both weapons are only usable in Ashran, and will disappear upon leaving the isle. Both of them also have really cool abilities. The priest staff will levitate you high in the air for 30 seconds, out of enemy range, and the paladin mace will teleport an enemy player to your faction's prison. How neat is that? These can't possibly be the only Ashran weapons; certainly there will be at least one for each class. I wonder--what kind of effects will they all have?

As if the weapons weren't enough, a single piece of armor pulled from the patch invites rampant speculation about the nature of gear we might see in Warlords. That would be the mail hunter boots, the Simplyswift Treads, which removes the cooldown from Disengage. If this effect makes it to live, it could mean huge things for class gear in the upcoming expansion. What other abilities may we see modified in such a way? If you were designing a piece of gear like this for your own class, what would it be? There are so many possibilities!

Filed under: News items, PvP, Warlords of Draenor

New WoW Source: PvP and Class Changes

WoW Source has made a return, with Senior PvP Designer Brian Holinka Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas, and Lead Class Designer Kris Zierhut. They're talking PvP and Class Design.
  • Diminishing Returns categories have been cut from thirteen to five.
  • Fear's PvP duration has been reduced from eight seconds to five.
  • CC needs reduction, but without it the game would be boring.
  • In WoD every PvP item will have two item levels, e.g. 550 for PvE and 590 for PvP. This will be effective in the world too.
  • We saw an early map and description of Ashran -- looks like a League of Legends style ARAM-esque back-and-forth with other activities around the main central run.
  • There was some more information on Skirmishes, they may drop Conquest gear, and will drop bags containing Honor, Honor gear, or gold.
  • Tanking will not go back to being about Threat
  • Button Bloat has focused on redundant or duplicative abilities
  • Sometimes cutting or simplifying buttons has made class flavor/fantasy better.
  • They do want to give players new things where appropriate, but they need to free up some space to do so.
  • The devs do their best to avoid different spell behaviors in PvP.
  • The devs endeavor to make classes fun to play without affecting their numbers.
  • The devs are listening to feedback and nothing is final.
You can view the video above or on Battle.net.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

WoW Archivist: The battle for Hillsbrad

Fighting at TM
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

Almost ten years later, people still talk about the Southshore versus Tarren Mill battles, the most infamous and celebrated world PvP in WoW history. They go on about how glorious it was, how they'd like to see that kind of intensity return to world PvP. It's not often, however, that they discuss the details.

If you want to know exactly what it was like to fight in those battles, keep reading. I lived it. My old tauren hunter still bears the scars. Pull up a bench and pour yourself a glass of ale. I will tell you about the war.

Why Hillsbrad?

Several places on Azeroth in classic WoW had two faction-specific towns in close proximity. You had Astranaar and Splintertree in Ashenvale. Arathi Highlands featured Refuge Pointe and Hammerfall. Theramore and Brackenwall squared off in Dustwallow Marsh. A few others had proximity also.

So why didn't any of these pairs become as legendary as Southshore and Tarren Mill? The fact is that battles did happen here -- some fairly major ones, too. World PvP ran rampant in the early days, even on PvE realms, and even before the honor system arrived to reward you for doing it.

Many raided faction villages for the simple joy of denying your enemy a stronghold, a questgiver, or a flight point. Such players sought out undefended towns, which these others often were, at least when you first struck.

Other players wanted resistance. They wanted to march forward as part of one vast army of players into an equally imposing force. They wanted the chaos, the rush, the endless bloodshed, the death cries of their foes echoing all around them. And they knew exactly one place you could find that experience, at virtually any hour of the day or night.

It had to be somewhere. Early forum threads began to buzz about such battles taking place. As word of mouth spread, more players wanted to make it happen on their own realm. It became the thing to do.

But why there?

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Warlords of Draenor: New instance technology, no load screen in new PvP island

Senior PvP Designer Brian Holinka has been teasing us with tidbits of information about Ashran, Warlords of Draenor's new PvP island, for some time now, both on Twitter and in interviews on the recent press tour. And now another little piece of intel that has wider-reaching ramifications than PvP alone.

This sounds excellent, firstly, for Ashran itself. The sense of immediacy, of being in the world and participating in a battle that is on your server, in your realm, will really add something to the experience. The sense of separation in instanced PvP removes something of the immediacy, the feeling that the other faction are invading your territory, that it's your personal server's fight. Not to mention, most people wouldn't be happy to call it world PvP if it was obviously instanced!

But, looking at the new technology, it's exciting to consider what options this opens up for Blizzard. It's more than just phasing, it seems, or Holinka would not have referred to new tech. Could we see this used for questing? For scenarios? Dungeons? Raids? For me at least, the opening scenarios for the Isle of Thunder would have felt a lot more authentic if I didn't have to go through a load screen.

Filed under: PvP, Warlords of Draenor

Senior PvP Designer Brian Holinka interviewed in Korea

Senior PvP Designer Brian Holinka was interviewed in Seoul, Korea, as part of the Press Event that's taking place worldwide this week. The video is above, but some of the key points covered are below. These are in chronological order so it's easy for you to find more information on the video, rather than arranging them by topic:
  • Blizzard is not yet ready to talk timelines with Warlords beta, or release, but are happy with how things are progressing. It's on schedule.
  • The changes to PvP in Mists and Warlords have all been focused on improving PvP participation
  • One of the main reasons why Holinka is so active on Twitter is to be a point of contact for PvPers.
  • There will be a tutorial zone, as discussed at BlizzCon that is to provide a starter experience for all players going into Draenor. The option to use this as more of a tutorial will exist.
  • Garrisons will offer a lot of playability, and are continuing in development beyond 6.0 with potential new features. Garrison PvP is a potential example.

Read more →

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: New world PvP zone

Ashran
New to Warlords of Draenor will be a world PvP zone called Ashran. It will be a PvP sandbox zone with an ongoing battle. Its staging area will be near the Dark Portal.

Included in Ashran will be faction bases (that can be reduced to rubble) and other hotspots. You'll be able to create siege vehicles of various sizes that may be started at one point and finished when you return to the zone. Ashran is being described as being close to the old school Alterac Valley. There will be a variety of objectives that may take a lot of time to achieve. Also, cross-realm technology will be applied so that servers or server clusters with faction-imbalances will have fair battles.

This is a departure from their current PvP options in that there is no end. Fans of the old AV and of world PvP will hopefully find that Ashran satisfies those desires.

Filed under: PvP, BlizzCon

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