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Posts with tag Blizzard

WoW Archivist: Patch 3.0 -- Echoes of Doom

Patch 3.0.2 official poster
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?

Patch 6.0 is finally upon us. Like all pre-expansion patches, it has been both invigorating and chaotic. Almost exactly six years ago, a similar patch went live to begin a new era in WoW. Blizzard called Wrath of the Lich King's pre-expansion patch "Echoes of Doom." On October 14, 2008, this third version of the game gave us the brand-new achievement system, inscription and glyphs, 51-point talent trees, the zombie plague event, and TO THE GROUND, BABY. Read on to see what WoW was like for those turbulent few weeks before Wrath of the Lich King's launch.

Dalaran, where art thou?

Through all of classic and The Burning Crusade, Dalaran sat in northern Hillsbrad, but players couldn't see it. An opaque purple dome walled off the Kirin Tor from the world at large. At the time, the enormous structure was one of the most striking landmarks in Azeroth. Although a few quests hinted at what lay beneath it, players new to the WoW universe had no idea what was there.

And then it was gone.

All that remained was a city-sized crater. I remember making a pilgrimage to this site during the 3.0 prepatch just to see it for myself. We couldn't go to Northrend yet to see the city first-hand. We had to wait for the launch of Wrath to do that. But looking at that crater certainly fired the imagination. I couldn't wait to find out what had been lurking under that dome for the first four years of the game.

I have to say, the city lived up to my high expectations.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

What is BlizzCon and how can I keep up with it?

If you're new to the game or play casually, you may be wondering just what all the fuss is about BlizzCon. So just what is BlizzCon and what does it mean to you?

We'll start at the beginning: BlizzCon is a convention held by Blizzard where they announce new games (and expansions), hold panels with developers, let the best players in the world show off their skills in tournaments, offer hands-on demos of just-announced games, host costume and talent contests, and other fun Blizzard-centric activities. The con is held in sunny Anaheim, California on a standard Blizzard "when it's ready" schedule -- typically every couple of years, though sometimes it's an annual event. This year's convention will be on the weekend of November 7 - 8th and if you want to attend... well, unfortunately tickets are sold out. However, you can still pick up a virtual ticket which will let you watch live streams from the convention floor, access the BlizzCon-exclusive store, and pick up some in-game goodies -- like this year's Grommloc murloc pet -- for $40.

But is it worth it -- and do you even care? Well, maybe. Here's a rundown of what you can expect to happen at BlizzCon this year -- and how to keep up with the news from afar.

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Filed under: WoW Rookie, BlizzCon

New Blackhand comic at the official site

So, have you ever wondered how he got the name Blackhand? Wonder no more. The latest Warlords of Draenor comic, Blackhand, gives you a glimpse into the history of the Blackrock orcs on Draenor, shows us a tantalizing glimpse of a character we haven't seen much of yet, and answers questions like What happened to Blackhand in this timeline with more questions, really. Still, if watching orcs battle ogres, negotiate with the spirits, and risk death for their people sounds good to you, this is the comic you want to read. Written by Robert Brooks and with art by Alex Horley, it's up now, so go get it.

Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

WoW Archivist: Class protests and the Million Gnome March

Naked gnomes everywhere
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?

Betas make players nervous about their class. It happens every time. Blizzard makes changes, often drastically, and for better or worse some people hate the changes. I've been keeping my eye on the beta class forums since the Warlords beta began, and I've seen a lot of unhappiness this time around. The ability pruning that was one of Blizzard's major design goals for classes this year has removed depth from rotations, taken away both utility and cosmetic options, and in some cases radically altered or deleted abilities that players enjoyed. Beta testers have voiced strong opposition to many of the changes.

In ten years, I haven't seen players this up in arms about class issues since classic WoW -- an era when many specs and mechanics were simply broken in PvE, PvP, or both.

This past Friday, something happened that I believed would never again happen in WoW: an in-game class protest. With much more open lines of communication from developers to players in recent years, I thought the game had matured beyond the point where such things would ever be necessary. But here we are, almost ten years after the most famous class protest in WoW's history, and players once again felt the need to gather in Azeroth to voice their complaints.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

New Undelete Character feature for World of Warcraft

I have to admit, I didn't see it coming, and I probably should with the push to get players to return for Warlords of Draenor. A new automated service, useable once every 30 days, will allow you to restore a deleted character. What are the restrictions on this service? Well, for starters, level 10 and below characters are just plain gone. Same with level 55 DK's. If you barely even played it, don't try to undelete it, it's gone.
New Feature Incoming: Undelete Character
In the upcoming pre-Warlords of Draenor content patch, we're adding a new feature that allows players to undelete characters. But before you delete that character, there are a few limitations we want you to let you to know about first.
  • Characters under level 10 and Death Knights at level 55 are not eligible to be undeleted.
  • Characters between level 10 and level 29 will no longer recoverable after 90 days.
  • Characters between level 30 and 49 will no longer recoverable after 120 days.
  • All other characters level 50 and above are eligible to be undeleted at any time.
  • Please keep in mind you will only be able to use the undelete option once every 30 days.
Undeleting a character restores all of its enchantments, gems, and items fully intact. You'll be able to get back into action right away, and your character won't remember being deleted-we won't tell, either.

Shhhh. . . .

Reclaiming Your Name: What About Flugur?

We'll be holding deleted character names for a limited time, and the original creator can reclaim it for use on a new character during that time. If you create a new character with the same name as one of your deleted characters (let's say Flugur), the new character must be renamed, transferred, or deleted to complete the restoration of the original Flugur.


That last bit seems odd to me - wouldn't it be easier to just force Flugur to be renamed? Does this mean if I created a new warrior named Flugur and leveled him to 90, I'd have to fork out for a rename if I wanted my old BC era Flugur back? But otherwise it's a cool thing to have added, and I might even make use of it for that paladin I deleted back in BC. He had some weird stuff in his bags from Naxx.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

WoW Archivist: Bottlenecks

Gyrocopter jam
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?

Wherever thousands of players try to complete on-rails content, bottlenecks are inevitable. For Warlords of Draenor, Blizzard is trying to be proactive about eliminating them. Back in July, CM Zorbrix posted a "targeted feedback request" about bottlenecks in the beta. Given that the introductory experience is completely on rails before the expansion unleashes players into its less structured zones, this is a real concern.

WoW hasn't had the best track record when it comes to bottlenecks. As we help Blizzard loosen the bottlenecks of the future, let's revisit those of the past.

The great gyrocopter jam of 2012

Blizzard's server tech has come a long way since the game's launch. Lag and crashes are no longer rampant during expansion launches. But sometimes, other problems can prohibit players from progressing on Day 1. If we're talking bottlenecks, we have to start with the most infamous one in all of WoW, which also happens to be one of the most recent.

This was a problem that people saw coming. I found a thread on MMO Champion from September 2012 where a poster writes, "On Beta - everyone had to funnel through a single vehicle quest to proceed on the Jade Forest quest line. I'm a touch concerned that this is going to be way worse than any other expansion..."

And this guy was totally right. OK, maybe Mists wasn't as bad as The Burning Crusade overall, but the ironically named Unleash Hell was still the biggest -- and most dramatic -- bottleneck ever caused by a single quest.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

WoW Archivist: The classic Molten Core experience, part 3

Ragnaros

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?

If you missed part 1 and part 2, that means you were late for the raid and we're docking you 50 DKP. Next time get here early to help the warlocks farm soul shards.

OK, fellow archivists! We've cleared trash, we've decursed, we've pulled Geddon to Garr's room, we've brefriended the Duke, and we've doused every fiery rune. It's time to delve into the core of the Core to take on the Majordomo and Ragnaros himself, 2005 edition.

The invincible majordomo

Undefeated in battle, Executus rose through the ranks of Ragnaros's lieutenants to become the Firelord's majordomo. He did not appear until you doused all the runes, so the earliest raids on Molten Core had to stop after Golemagg and Sulfuron due to an Aqual Quintessence shortage.

After raiders repped up with the Hydraxian Waterlords and could finally summon the Majordomo, they were faced with an invincible warrior -- literally. Executus could not be killed. His Aegis of Ragnaros spell gave him a 30K damage absorb buff and healed him to full, so it was pointless to DPS him.

Instead, raids had to manage his eight adds: four Flamewaker Elites and four Flamewaker Healers. Mages were the key to this fight as they had the only reliable, long-term crowd control spell for humanoids. The fight required at least five tanks, one for the majordomo and one for each elite. All four healers were sheeped until all the elites were dead. Then the raid could kill the healers one at a time.

But it wasn't that simple. The fight had some interesting complications.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

New players get World of Warcraft free until September 26th

You read that right. It's apparently as easy as downloading the Battle.net app, using it to download World of Warcraft and launching the game. If you're on the fence about returning or have someone you want to show the game off to, now is possibly the best time imaginable, since you won't have to pay for the majority of the month. There's also a helpful link to Blizzard's beginner's guide, which can help you dive in and get started in WoW.

Probably a pretty good time for a promotion like this, with a lot of people having let their subs lapse during the long content drought, it's an easy way to try and ease some of them back into the game while also giving new players a painless way to explore whether or not WoW is the game for them.

Edit: Turns out it's not all new players. It's part of a specific email promotion.


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

WoW Archivist: The classic Molten Core experience, part 2

A rune in Molten Core
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?

In the last WoW Archivist, we covered the early parts of Molten Core: the "attunement," the grueling trash clear to Lucifron, and the weird hunter-focused mechanics of Magmadar. As we left off, the raid had just reached its first rune. To douse the rune and (eventually) summon Majordomo Executus, you had to make friends with an angry royal guy made of water.

The duke of douse

Duke Hydraxis, as a water elemental, wasn't very fond of other elemental types, particularly Ragnaros or his fiery kin. His Hydraxian Waterlords were the first raid-based reputation in WoW. You could rep up with them before setting foot in Molten Core by killing certain elementals out in the world, but only up to just shy of honored. After that, you had to run MC to get additional rep. Trash gave rep until revered, but only boss kills got you through the slow grind to exalted.

Meanwhile, you could complete a small quest chain for the Duke. He first sent you to kill elementals in Plaguelands and Silithus, and then to obtain an item from Pyroguard Emberseer in Blackrock Spire. Further quests involved killing specific trash mobs and bosses in Molten Core. Hands of the Enemy quite literally asked you to bring him the severed hands of Lucifron, Gehennas, Shazzrah, and Sulfuron. Once completed, you could loot the duke's coffer and choose one of two very valuable fire resistance rings. At this point, the duke also gave you an Aqual Quintessence, one of the most famous items from classic WoW.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Blizzard donates to bring back GaymerX

It takes a lot of money to throw a gaming convention, which is why second-year LGBTQ gaming convention GaymerX wasn't certain there would be a third year of the event -- especially after NIS America backed out of a sponsorship deal (though the company eventually came through). Now the GaymerX crew is working on a third convention, which they're calling GX3, and they've pulled together some impressive financial backing in advance.

The biggest donor on the list -- besides dating app Hornet, which donated ad space -- is Blizzard Entertainment, which has pledged to chip in $10,000 to the convention. Blizzard doesn't have the best track record on supporting diversity lately -- especially where women are concerned -- and this seems like a solid move to change some of that public perception... and help keep an awesome gaming con going.

If you'd like to attend GX3 yourself, it will be held in November or December 2015 in San Francisco and you can pick up early tickets -- and other goodies -- on Kickstarter.

Editor's Note: Our moderators have bedded down for the night, so we're disabling comments on this post.

[Thanks, Orkchop, for the tip!]

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

New Hellscream Short Story available now

If you're curious about exactly what is going on with Garrosh, Kairoz, and the Draenor we're all about to find ourselves on, then you'll want to read Hellscream, the new short story by Robert Brooks that's up on the official site right now. It goes into detail, bridging the gap between the end of War Crimes and the beginning of the expansion. How does Garrosh motivate the orcs of Draenor to become the Iron Horde? Well, that's exactly what this story covers.

Without spoilers, it's definitely an interesting read, and it gives us a sense of what the major actors are up to, especially Garrosh and Kairoz. Head on over to the official site and check it out.

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

WoW Archivist: The classic Molten Core experience

Lucifron
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?

Are you ready to return to the Core? Last week, we learned that Blizzard is planning a 40-player LFR version of classic's Molten Core raid as part of WoW's 10th anniversary celebration. Regardless of what they have in mind, the experience is certain to be very different than it was back in 2005.

Sure, you've probably solo'ed MC or cleared it with a few friends. But what was a Molten Core run like during classic WoW, when conquering Ragnaros and his fiery lieutenants was the pinnacle of endgame content? Read on to find out.

Zoning in

To access Molten Core at release, raids had to fight their way through the 5-player Blackrock Depths dungeon in order to access the raid. Today that would be impossible, but originally, dungeons had the same 40-player cap as raids.

Those poor, poor fools in BRD didn't stand a chance with three dozen+ players carving their way through. Since clearing it offered nothing but a timesink, Blizzard changed the Molten Core discovery quest into an attunement in March 2005. You had to reach the entrance of Molten Core once, and then you could port there directly by jumping out of a small window in Blackrock Mountain.

The game sometimes failed to register the instance transfer and you plummeted into a vast lake of lava. Yes, Molten Core could kill you before you even set foot in it.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Breakfast Topic: What Warcraft swag do you want to see?

Between their own official gear store and the merchandise on J!NX and other retailers, there's plenty of WoW (and Blizzard in general) swag out there for the buying. But with time-limited exclusives -- like the immensely popular (and quickly sold out) Nether Faerie Dragon plush at San Diego Comic-Con -- you can't always get your hands on the swag you want... and maybe Blizzard just hasn't gotten around to making the swag you want yet. (For example, I'd love to see more of swag based on Carbot's properties, like the StarCrafts hoodies.)

But just what Blizzard swag would get you shopping? Do you want more plushies, more hoodies, or something else entirely?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

WoW Archivist: One night of payback in 2006

Theramore
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?

An interesting aspect of the ongoing Ashran faction hub debate is the fear people express that their hubs will be raided by enemy players, since the new hubs are adjacent to a PvP zone. Blizzard pointed out that the hubs will be better defended by NPCs than the Shrines are now -- and the Shrines currently see few serious attacks on live realms, despite their close proximity.

On most realms today, little large-scale world PvP occurs, and even fewer faction raids. Faction raids were once a huge part of the game, even on PvE realms. You couldn't kill opposing players on PvE realms if they didn't want to be killed, but you could deny them their questgivers, flightmasters, and other crucial NPCs. And we did that, on both sides, throughout classic WoW.

Easy targets like the Crossroads, Astranaar, Grom'gol, and Refuge Pointe were raided almost daily. If your faction was heavily outnumbered, like mine was on Khadgar-US back then, it could be infuriating. We had our small victories at times, as I covered in my first Archivist column. But many days, all we could do was stand by and watch as the Alliance occupied our towns for hours at a time and took away our ability to level effectively.

On our first anniversary in 2006, my guild set out for some payback. Today I'd like to share that tale of classic world PvP, from the era when faction raids were serious business.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Blizzard opens dedicated gamescom page

Coming this August, gamescom 2014 will continue the tradition of one of the biggest and most important video game conventions in the world. And this year, Blizzard plans on letting even people who don't get to travel to Cologne (it's in Germany) keep track of what they're up to at this massive con, with a dedicated web page for their presence, including livestreaming coverage. It's an interesting move for Blizzard, and an understandable one - gamescom is, on the whole, a big deal and it's likely that they'll be putting a lot of effort into their presentations there, so why not let people from outside the con get a look as well? It's just good PR.

This year's gamescom runs from August 13th to August 17th in Cologne, Germany. Dare we hope for a release date for Warlords of Draenor by then? Yes. Yes, we dare to hope for that. Maybe the cinematic? Why not? I'm from Rhode Island and I say release it all! Sorry, got excited, referenced Starship Troopers. it won't happen again.

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

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