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Around Azeroth: You've changed, Harold

You're not the squirrel I married all those years ago. I know, I know, we all get older and our bodies change. But really, Harold, you've let yourself go. What happened to your soft fur? Your smooth skin? Remember back when you used to spend time with me in the evenings, instead of retreating inside that man-cave you carry on your back? I'm afraid that we've grown too far apart, Harold. I'm leaving you. Don't try to catch up with me, either, because I know you can't run as fast as you used to. (Thanks to submitter Serulean of Misha [US-H] for the screenshot!)

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Filed under: Around Azeroth

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

The Queue: I swear it's a screenshot


Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

The above is a small fountain/shrine/draenei structure along the path between the borders of Shadowmoon and Talador. I'm not exactly sure what purpose it serves, or what those pretty glowing lights are, exactly, but it's beautiful either way.

Jalamenos commented:

Seriously, that header image. I thought it was concept art at first because it's so beautiful.

It's absolutely a screenshot. The fun part is that Draenor is absolutely full of scenic vistas like that one, and the one above. Honestly, this is one of the other reason I don't mind that we don't have flying right now in Draenor -- if you could fly everywhere, you'd miss running into these scenic little areas, and that would be an absolute pity because they are gorgeous. The whole world is utterly gorgeous.

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Filed under: The Queue

Sunday Morning Funnies: Stand up straight

Experience Boost
Sunday Morning Funnies is your weekly list of WoW-related web comics.

This week, in comics: A name exchange, anybody can fall down, a disrobing, new hooves. Plus: You can't escape your nemesis.

In comic news this week, Away From Reality and Father's Shield will be on a temporary, hopefully short, involuntary hiatus due to computer gremlins. Luckily, there's one new Away From Reality comic to enjoy this week, which will hopefully help ease the pain. Plus, as you may (not) recall, From Draenor With Love is also on a short hiatus, preparing the next chapter.

Fortunately, the rest of this week's news is positive. The Brotherhood of Iron has updated twice, with some mock BlizzCon posters. And there's a new storyline starting up on Gnomeregan Forever. Finally, On Teh Gladiators, the new Hearthstone-related content has already begun, which rocks; we didn't even have to miss the comic for one week!

I even have a surprise treat for you this week, courtesy of Jim from Gnomophobia (which has five new updates for you):

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Humor, Comics, Sunday Morning Funnies

Breakfast Topic: Do you have a pre-expansion to-do list?

I'm pretty obsessive about achievements. I don't go out of my way to complete them, but if I'm in an area questing or farming and there's an achievement to be had, I'll grab it while I'm there. But what I normally find myself doing at the end of an expansion, when the days are waning and there's little to do, is going out and finding all of the achievements I missed. I don't get them all -- after all, there are only so many hours I have available to play -- but having a tangible list of stuff to do keeps the end-of-expansion doldrums mostly at bay.

The latest round of things to do involved the Brawler's Guild, which I began when it first arrived, and then abandoned in a flurry of raiding and dailies and things that were nowhere near Orgrimmar or Stormwind. I think that's why I'd all but forgotten about the feature until recently. Most of my days were spend in either the Alliance or Horde shrines, and I never really traveled to either capital city if I could help it. But upon the announcement that the Brawler's Guild was being revamped for level 100, I figured I should go knock out as many of the bosses as I could.

It was slightly easier than I'd expected, but that was in large part due to all that raiding I'd been doing and the gear I'd acquired. Still, there were a few bosses that proved to be a challenge, and no amount of gear could get me around the mechanics and tricks required. But I'm rank 10 now, and working my way through the various challenge cards. I don't know if I'll finish them all before 6.0.2, but it's become a fun and somewhat relaxing diversion. What about you guys? Do you have a to-do list of things to complete before the expansion is over? Do you go after particular achievements? Do you go back and finish zone quests you might not have seen in your rush to level 90? Or are you just taking a break and relaxing while you wait?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

WoW Moviewatch: Beta is beta

It's awfully hard to explain the process of being in beta to someone that has never been in a beta before, but Mooclucking managed to put together something that approximates the experience. Beta is Beta does include some footage from the Warlords of Draenor beta, but there are no spoilers to be had here. Instead, there's a small and maybe slightly exaggerated smattering of the typical kinds of things you'll see when you're on a beta server, where the game isn't quite finished and the levels don't really matter.

Warlords of Draenor is the sixth beta I've been in, and Mooclucking's video isn't exactly that far off the mark in terms of what you see while you're in there. Needless to say, this video had me cracking up, especially the bit with the mages and their unfortunate spell gone wrong. Take a look at the video above, and if you enjoyed it, pay a visit to Mooclucking's Youtube channel while you're at it.

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

The Queue: Plants are pretty awesome

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today.

I've been in the Warlords of Draenor beta since it began and there are still environments that completely take my breath away. Whoever was doing all of the plants and trees and grass and mushrooms and other assorted flora of Draenor deserves a crate or two of cookies.

Klok asked:

For what reason(s) does one need 5 Warriors?

Well I imagine when being attacked by a rampaging army of bloodthirsty orcs, the more warriors you have, the better off you'd be.

But seriously though, I think we can just safely say that Rossi really, really, really loves the class he plays.

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Filed under: The Queue

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

WoW Moviewatch: Warcraft 3 in World of Warcraft

There's a lot of old Warcraft lore in World of Warcraft, but if you don't know where to look for it you might not even realize it's there. Fortunately, Wowcrendor is here to help with a video that points out all of the Warcraft 3 scenes and settings that you can find inside World of Warcraft. It's a long video, running over 10 minutes, but it covers a lot of Warcraft history and, if you're interested in learning the story behind the locales, it's worth the watch.

While loremasters may already know about these places, this Arthas-focused tour of Azeroth might just leave you to look at game locations you've wandered through a hundred times a little differently.

Note to self: Never idle in the Lordaeron throne room. That stuff's creepy.
Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Machinima, WoW Moviewatch

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

Around Azeroth: Preaching to the damned

"So my ministry to the poor, downtrodden critters of Azeroth continues just swimmingly ... almost," writes submitter Arugadh of The Brotherhood of Iron on Wyrmrest Accord (US-A). "I've found that once converted, my congregation of critters will follow me into the very depths of Icecrown itself, across forbidding mountains, through frozen seas, over tall spiky walls. But the devotion stops just short of actually helping me when I attempt to 'convert' one of the Scourge to the Light. Granted, said conversion usually means leaving said Scourge lying in massive heaps of dead bones all over the landscape, but you'd think that my newly-converted devoted congregation would be willing to put their faith into practice by helping.

But no. They were content to watch, squawking their encouragement, then wandering off in search of fish when I tried to beg for help. Stupid flightless waterfowl. It was also my luckless discovery that CRZ phasing disperses my critter congregation, which means that any plans for leading a sheep/chicken/cat invasion of Stormwind are out of the question at the moment."

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Filed under: Around Azeroth

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

The Queue: World chat, flying, and legendary disappointment


Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky (@adamholisky) will be your host today.

Hey I don't know where this idea came that I hate Death Knights.

I hate Paladins. Paladins stink guys.

Xlol asked:

What if I can't win a Silvershard MIne or Kotmogu PVP by the time 6.0 comes out? I've done Silvershard 15 times and have lost every single one of them.

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Filed under: The Queue

Around Azeroth: Evolution or devolution?

Did the filthy, savage race of trolls really evolve into the noble elves we see today? Or, through some unholy process, did the shamanistic, nature loving trolls somehow degenerate and become a gang of elitist magic junkies? Submitter Hallebruinja of Preemptive Retribution on Silver Hand (US-A), standing in the middle, represents an intermediate form.

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Filed under: Around Azeroth

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

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