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Around Azeroth: I'm not your personal taxi

"So what happened was ... I'm out leveling and my guildmate Roowen offers to join me," writes submitter Warriormama of Equinox on Llane (US-A), who does not know that for medical personnel, the phrase 'what happened was' is an indication that the story about to be told is an utter falsehood. "Since she can fly and I cannot, she starts shuttling me around from quest to quest to make traveling go a little faster. Next thing I know, I'm stranded on a tree branch far up and looking down over Townlong Steppes as she flies away." It might be time to consider paying for gas, Warriormama.

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Filed under: Around Azeroth

Breakfast Topic: So Many Feelings

This is a spoiler free post about spoilers. And how those spoilers can make you feel. I'm warning you, even though I intend to spoil nothing at all, so you can avoid the post if you'd rather.

This has been the expansion beta test where I constantly find myself forgetting that the Horde storyline exists. I say this having played it. It's not that the orcs of Draenor aren't interesting or cool, it's that I simply just do not care because there's draenei lore to explore, draenei settlements to visit, draenei to watch being awesome in cinematics. If you watched the recent cinematics Blizzard released, you'll know what I mean. If you didn't, you'll have to take my word for it - there are some awesome draenei moments to be had. It's gotten me so pumped I resumed work on my draenei-themed transmog, which you can see above on the beta. Having watched the cinematics, I'm now incredibly ready for Warlords, but I have no idea if I'll even bother to play Horde. As cool as the Frostfire Ridge ending is, the Shadowmoon Valley one dwarfs it, and Talador? Talador actively made me upset, something that hasn't happened to me in World of Warcraft in a very long time.

This is the draenei expansion. The orcs? Well, they're here. They're villains for the most part. I'm not impressed. But the draenei? Oh yeah. Y'rel, just point the way. Let's go wreck the Iron Horde.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: The undeniable failure of Thrall

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.

Thrall, former Warchief of the Horde, came from a line of leaders, destined by his parentage to eventually take leadership of the Frostwolf clan -- but he ended up doing far, far more than just that. Through Thrall's efforts, the Horde was rebuilt anew into a different organization, one built not on the concept of bloody battles and victorious conquest, but instead on the ideals of freedom, liberation, unity. Family. With that goal in mind, he allowed a multitude of races to join as allies with this new Horde, establishing a home in Kalimdor.

But that Horde was not the Horde that the orc race was familiar with. It wasn't the same Horde of united clans that drank the blood of Mannoroth, ripped through the Dark Portal and stormed into Azeroth with the intent of conquering the planet. It certainly was a far, far cry from the Horde of Draenor -- the Horde from days not so long before the orcs first arrived on Azeroth, the Horde that thrived prior to Thrall's birth.

And perhaps it was that curious dichotomy between the two that led Thrall astray. Or perhaps it was simply that his parents, Durotan and Draka, were killed while he was still an infant, and he was raised in as a slave in a camp of humans that taught him human ideals, human ideas. They taught him to read, they taught him to speak, they taught him how to be. What they did not teach him was one very important thing -- how to be an orc.

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains several spoilers for Warlords of Draenor, including the cinematics that were released last week. If you are avoiding spoilers, don't click!

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

WoW Moviewatch: The Warlock: Episode 2 - LFG

I've always been one of those people that enjoys solo questing. Don't get me wrong, I also enjoy being in a guild and enjoy being social, but I just prefer to read quest text at my leisure, which isn't exactly conducive to group play. That, and I kind of like the challenge of trying to beat things solo -- sure, a quest might say it's intended for a group, but I like trying to figure out how to complete it on my own. Today's Moviewatch is the second episode in a series by Nixxiom simply called The Warlock, and it deals with one of the other sides of group questing -- a slightly more unpleasant one.

Generally speaking, if I'm out questing in the wilds of Azeroth, a random invite from a stranger isn't something I look forward to dealing with. I have to say though, after watching the second episode of this series, I'm kind of a fan of Antos, the new character and self professed best mage on Azeroth. I wasn't sure about him at first, but seven minutes in there was a moment in which I was completely, utterly sold. I don't know where this series is going to go from here, but I'm looking forward to seeing it. If you missed episode one, be sure to check that one out as well.


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: Beard obsession

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 don't know why exactly a good chunk of you were so completely obsessed with beards in yesterday's Queue, but okay, I'll indulge with a Cyanide & Happiness short that seems suitably appropriate for the topic at hand. Or chin, I guess.

Jorsha asked:

Q4tQ: is Coren Direbrew a whole long dungeon fight or is it just the boss fight like Headless Horseman at Hallow's End? I need Coren to finally finish off the Brewmaster achievement, but I really don't enjoy running dungeons so I've never done it. I love the H.H. fight because that's all it is.... just kill him, hope for the mount to drop (still waiting) and then move on. Cheers!

Coren is in fact just like the Headless Horseman. When you zone in, you do so right in Direbrew's room at the Grim Guzzler, and all you have to do is speak to him to start the fight. No trash, no dungeon, nothing but Direbrew and his cronies to take down. Easy enough! ... although be careful about pulling the rest of the bar while you're fighting him. It probably isn't that much of an issue these days, but I remember a few entertaining "oops" pulls when Coren was first introduced.

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Filed under: The Queue

Sunday Morning Funnies: How delightful

Teh Gladiators
Sunday Morning Funnies is your weekly list of WoW-related web comics.

This week, in comics: Everything is so orange. Socializing is the worst. One partnership is broken up, and another is formed. Plus: Richard has a diary (and a purse).

Also, Fox Rain has hit 100 pages! Congratulations, Jenn!

Several of our sporadically updating comics did not post new content this week, so we're missing WoW, eh? and Sara & Kleeyo, as well as Kibble & Bit. And, if you missed the announcement last week, From Draenor With Love is on a brief hiatus to prepare for Chapter 4 (which I'm pretty sure has a dragon).

However, The Brotherhood of Iron, Rug's new comic, which will update sporadically as well, has new content up, which includes Keran from Experience Boost. Plus, Gnomeregan Forever has posted an extra featuring a Kibble & Bit crossover! We also have content from the two new comics that joined us last week, The Warchief's Command Board and Gnomophobia, so there's plenty to read. But, if you're finding the list a bit light, why not check out the Clickware storyline on NPC? It isn't WoW-related, but I mean, Chloe encounters the clickbaitiest of ads, and it's worth the read.

Also this week, Teh Gladiators concludes, although this won't be the last time it's featured here. Next week, there should be Hearthstone-related content, and if you're curious, the text below the final comic gives some more details.

Finally, I'd like to correct a minor error I made last week. Contested Territory (not Gnomeregan Forever) switched up its line style subtly, which is getting some great feedback from readers.

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

Breakfast Topic: Did you watch the Warlords cinematics?

One of the bigger pieces of news to come out of last week was the release of several of Warlords of Draenor's key in-game cinematic pieces. Now, normally we kind of expect to see these things at some point during the beta's lifetime -- but usually it's one datamining website or another that manages to dig the cinematics up prior to the expansion's release. This time, in a completely different move, Blizzard released all of the cinematics on the official website, clearly labeled as spoiler content and requiring players to click through a very blatant spoiler warning before actually showing any content at all.

It's a new approach. I'm kind of a fan of this approach, because we all knew that material was going to surface at one point or another anyway -- this way, Blizzard has control of how it is released, and guarantees that it's labeled so as not to take anyone by surprise. You can't get much clearer about spoilers than Blizzard did in their official post, and although some might say they went overboard with the warnings, I think that was perfectly fine, given the nature of the material. And of course I watched them. I watched them all, because I like to write about these kinds of things on a weekly basis and I wanted to see what would happen, to give some context to what I'd already seen in the beta.

But I'm wondering how many of you watched the cinematics, as blatantly placed out and clearly labeled as they were. Did you appreciate all the spoiler warnings? If you're avoiding all spoilers, did the clear labels and official post make it easier to stick with your resolve, or did it just tempt you into really wanting to see? Obviously, since we're talking about the nature of spoilers, rather than the actual spoilers themselves, please keep the comments spoiler-free. Trust me, we'll have more than enough articles where you can talk about the spoiler content to your heart's content.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: If WoW had romance options

One of the things I liked about the old Baldur's Gate games (especially BGII, my all-time favorite) and their modern-day successors the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series is their romance options. You don't have to play with romance in mind -- in fact, when I play Dragon Age, I absolutely don't romance anyone, it's just how I roll in the DA franchise - but it's a well-designed feature and something I enjoyed, especially as it got more inclusive. It's a good mechanic for letting players see a little of themselves and their personal existence in the larger game world without forcing everyone to see it, since it's easy enough to not pursue.

And now I think it's time for WoW to steal the heck out of that idea. For example, Yrel. Let us all date Yrel. Or Drek'thar, or Liadrin. Make certain awesome NPC's available in our garrisons and let us pursue completely fictional romances with them to help introduce story elements you can't get any other way. We could have special quests just from our significant other, chains that helped flesh out the world we're exploring.

Okay, I admit it, I just want to let rogues date Vanessa Van Cleef. She's had a rough life. Druids could maybe talk Fandral Staghelm or Leyara down?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Around Azeroth: And you can send me dead pandas every morning

"I saw the picture submitted by Shadanah of Hyjal (US-H) today, and it immediately reminded me of a similar incident that occurred the other day," writes submitter Udaenor of The Expandables on Thunderlord (US-H). "I too was on my farm in Halfhill innocently going about my daily chores when I discovered a pandaren named Farmer Erryei of Destromath (US-H) lying in my field. As any concerned undead rogue would do when faced with a lone undefended individual of the same faction, I reached down to check for a pulse -- perhaps also for a bit of a taste, but I digress. I became concerned when I discovered that the pandaren had no pulse. I decided it was best to quickly 'dispose' of the body, as I had a questionable reputation with the local Halfhill constabulary. I had nothing to do with this body, guards. Really."

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

The Queue: Dinosaurs because it's Friday

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.

Yesterday, I deliberately didn't go on and on about dinosaurs. So today, I'm not being nearly so restrained. Dinosaurs. Lots of dinosaurs. Also some mosasaurs and pterosaurs because hey, prehistoric critters, good enough for me. Okay, that should keep me calm for a while. Let's get on with the World of Warcraft questions, which I suspect will be disappointingly dinosaur free.

FabioKasecker asks:
Q4tQ: I know that the questline for the cloak will be gone on 6.0.2 and with the release of WoD, but what about the vendor? What if I don't have enough gold to buy the second cloak for a second spec when WoD drops? Will I still be able to buy it after the release of the next xpac?

The vendor isn't going anywhere. If you completed the quest before it is removed, you can still purchase the items.

Read more →

Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: The future of tier sets

One of the things I love after getting a chance to pick up the Tier 17 pieces yesterday in the beta is the way the set bonuses switch between specializations. This is the greatest thing about the way gear has been changed in this expansion - one tier set effectively covers all three specializations. Now, there will always be set bonuses we like and set bonuses we hate, but it's indisputable that it's a relief not to have to farm up tokens twice for a DPS and tank or heal set (or three times, for a DPS, tank and heal set) and I'm down with the overall simplification of enchants if it means we can just plug and play more than on live.

So I'm sure I'm missing some huge negative of this change. Luckily, we have a comment section. What's wrong with the way tier works in Warlords that I'm missing?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Queue: Legendary decisions, Lore, A boring lack of dinosaurs

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.

No dinosaurs today. We are going straight into the meat of the Queue.

Arthonos asks:
With all the flack that Blizzard is getting right now over their decision to remove the Legendary quest chain, do you think they should be more upfront at the release of an expansion what will and will not be temporary content? More importantly, why should a company destroy content it created? I can see if the intent is to update or upgrade stuff, as they did in Cata, but this is removing content that would remain entertaining even after it has served its purpose as a source of loot.

This is one of those times where I'm not happy with a decision but my unhappiness with said decision doesn't seem to be the same as everyone else's unhappiness with said decision. I don't care that they're taking a legendary out of the game or making it so people who don't have the quest by 6.0.2 can't start the quest. But I feel like making it so people who've started the quest can't finish it once Warlords drops is a bad move. Even if we feel like those people have had plenty of time, the legendary cloak is a huge ball of RNG luck, tons of time and dedication, a lot of really hard single player moments, that stupid lightning serpent on the Throne of Thunder - if people are on any part of that quest, they've done a ton of work, and to my mind they should be allowed to finish that work. Just zeroing out the quest and getting rid of their quest items doesn't sit right by me.

Maybe I shouldn't care. But I really don't like the precedent that sets. The idea that the coming of a new expansion should erase all that effort. They've removed legendaries before - you can't get Atiesh anymore - but this is the first legendary that was simultaneously accessible and yet felt like such a personal achievement. Maybe that's why it has to go - a level 100 player could probably breeze through the chain. It still feels weird to me. That's my take on it, which doesn't really directly answer your question because I have no idea if Blizzard knew they were going to take the quest out when they introduced it.

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Filed under: The Queue

Around Azeroth, Beta Edition: An office romance

"I spotted this pair of druids sharing a meal near my garrison in Shadowmoon Valley," writes beta tester Riyahnasheed. "I'm not certain if it's a pair of coworkers commiserating after a hard day's work, or a budding office romance. I suppose we will find out if a plate of spaghetti appears and a meatball starts being nudged back and forth in future patches. Just think -- we might see winged kittens out of this! What could possibly go wrong with that?"

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

Breakfast Topic: Machinima in Warlords

One of the things I've been surprised by is the lack of people hopping on the beta to test out the new character models (especially considering how much more expressive the faces are) for the purposes of making machinima. I realize it's a beta test, and furthermore, I realize a lot of people who make machinima don't do it in game - model viewer is a friend to many and all that. So I guess I'm curious - are the many changes to how the game is stored and visually processed helpful or harmful for those of us who aspire to or already do make movies with World of Warcraft?

And yeah, part of me wishes that Gnomechewer would be so moved by the new models that he'd come back to WoW long enough to make a few machinima as good or better than Gilnean Like Me. Have you guys got a machinima you'd like to see visually updated with new models?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

WoW Moviewatch: Mortal Kombat

If you're looking to get more war into Warcraft, this machinima parody may be for you. Presenting a WoW arena match in the classic Mortal Kombat style, this video doesn't quite match the play style of either game, though it does manage to mimic both. WoW combat doesn't quite lend itself to something as fast-paced as Mortal Kombat, while Mortal Kombat lacks WoW's depth of abilities (things like polymorph and ice block would simply be gamebreaking). The end result of combining these two systems definitely bends the game rules of both WoW and Mortal Kombat to create something that will be familiar (at least familiar-ish) to players of either game.

So would you play a Warcraft-ized version of Mortal Kombat -- or are the originals good enough for your game?
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

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