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Blizzard opens new dedicated Ashran forum

If you have an opinion about Ashran, now there's a place for you to take it. Blizzard CM Kaivax posted that there's a new forum dedicated solely to Ashran. It's right here, although it doesn't appear to have a counterpart in Europe yet.

Ashran's been a hot topic as of late for problems with queue times and difficulty in balancing it - with some players having used Ashran to gear up it's not not uncommon to see people discussing one faction utterly dominating the zone now. If you're interested in Ashran and possibly in contributing your voice to the discussion (you may have a good suggestion for fixing the issues, or just a perspective that hasn't been considered yet) then head over to the new official forum for the PvP zone and make your voice heard.

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

The Queue: Owl worship

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.

Goooood morning, WoW Insider!

ScottLeyes asked:

Is there a "best time" to queue for LFD? Or, more appropriately, are there "better" times to queue? I usually try to queue in the early evening, thinking there are more people online, but Saturdays seem horrible, and Sundays are hit and miss. Opinions? Data?

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Filed under: The Queue

Know Your Lore: Cinematics, character development, and story in 2014

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.

Last week, we began to take a look at 2014 in review for World of Warcraft -- not from a general game standpoint, but from the standpoint of lore and story development. While we had some written material and media released midway through the year, in game the year didn't really get started until the release of patch 6.0 and the next expansion, Warlords of Draenor. But despite only being out for a little over a month, Warlords has made an pretty sizeable impression so far.

From a perspective of sheer story delivery, the leveling game in the new expansion is hands down the best thing Blizzard has ever delivered. There's not really more than a moment or two that you aren't being hammered with story from one direction or another, whether it's the unique struggles of two different factions on two different sides of the world as they establish their bases on Draenor, or the struggles of Draenor's natives as they deal with threats from the Iron Horde and beyond. Obviously, quests are everything -- what else contributed to lore in 2014?

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

The Queue: Blame the bird people

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.

Anyone remember the Simon Says Apexis crystal game in Ogri'la? Supposedly it's the arakkoa's fault, and the ogres of Ogri'la just found all these Apexis crystals and relics lying around, picked them up, and got very smart in the process. We might not be playing Simon Says in Draenor, but there's a horrifying reminder of the thing in a lone mine deep underground, oddly enough. Which makes me wonder -- was this irritating game of disastrous, zappy consequences really a relic of the arakkoa, or was this just the Titans playing their version of the buzzer-in-the-hand practical joke?

bushogg asked:

question for the que: does the level of my follower assigned to my barracks matter? If I am level 100 and my bodyguard is 94 should I level him to 100 or does it not matter?

Nope! He'll scale right up along with you. Feel free to take him along on whatever journeys you feel appropriate!

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Filed under: The Queue

The Queue: In which stuff got weird

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.

This week has been kind of strange. I put together an image in Photoshop last year of Elsa in the Lich King's armor, because it was kind of funny. Then I stuck the image on Twitter, and a lot of people liked it. This week, it popped up on a news site with an article about how Elsa dolls have dethroned Barbie dolls as the dolls of preference this holiday season. A lot of people told me about this, I found the whole thing very amusing, and then the image was pulled.

Ah well. I still have the mental image of Barbie resigned to a Bolvar fate in my head, and that's enough for me.

Lamneth commented:

The dungeon system I miss from WoTLK was the Frozen Orb. They should make savage blood available via the LFD system. Even if it was just 1 or 2 at the end that everyone got to roll on. Would encourage people to stay for the whole dungeon and give me a reason to sign up for them when I already outgear them.

If they put Savage Blood in as a drop reward for completing a heroic dungeon, I would start doing heroics again immediately. Without question. As is stands, the amount of time I have to spend in queue as DPS and the lack of any rewards that are at all currently useful to me make heroics largely useless as far as I'm concerned. I'm sure there are plenty of other people still getting use out of them, I'm just not one of them.

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Filed under: The Queue

The Queue: I'm turning into Rend Blackhand

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.

If you read today's Breakfast Topic, you know why I said this. It's a really surreal feeling, let's just go with that.

Merkavar asks:
Q4TQ anyone else miss the way dungeon rewards worked in wotlk. where you got one bonus reward per day but you could save up to 7. so you could smash out 4-7 dungeons in one go instead of doing one a day.

im not on every day so it would be nice if one or two days stacked

I feel much the same way. The weekend is the best time for me to get in some uninterrupted WoW time, and it would be nice if I could do a bunch of dungeons on Saturday/Sunday instead of trying to log on every day. I get why they made the change, but personally I miss the flexibility to my schedule this provided.

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Filed under: The Queue

Know Your Lore: Breakout Characters of 2014, Part One

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.

Since 2014 saw the end of one expansion and the beginning of another, it's actually got quite a list of characters that got an expanded role in the lore. Some of these are fairly predictable, and others less so. Since I like to talk about lore (it's what the column is about) I decided to round up some of the ones I found the most interesting. I've set myself a few arbitrary rules for this. One, Mists of Pandaria characters are fair game. I know the last patch was in 2013, I don't care. Secondly, they had to do something in terms of story. Sorry, Varian, but you really didn't do much at all in Siege and you haven't done much in Warlords, either.

This isn't listed by priority - the last character we talk about isn't more or less important than the first. So let's get down to brass tacks - who do I think broke out in the past year? (If somehow you still haven't had any exposure to Warlords of Draenor's story, be warned, Here Are Spoilers.)

Vol'jin
This one is kind of borderline for me - while he certainly took a big role in the end of Mists of Pandaria, he hasn't done a whole lot yet in Warlords. But I think it's an indisputable fact that Vol'jin's mere presence as a non-orc (a troll, even) atop the Horde power structure is a very significant change in terms of what it means for the Horde going forward. Before Vol'jin's rise to power, there had only been four warchiefs, two from the old Horde and two for the new, and all were orcs - the institution of warchief itself was an orcish one, brought over from Draenor when the Horde invaded.

No other change in the history of the Horde has done more to draw a strong line of demarcation between past and present. The ascension of Vol'jin says to the world of Azeroth (and beyond it) that the Horde is no longer Orcs and their Amazing Friends, but instead a collective of races banded together for mutual survival, and one where no particular race predominates (at least in theory). We have yet to see how successful Vol'jin is in the role, but he definitely changes the status quo dramatically for the Horde.

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

The Queue: Lockouts, level 3 mine, Nagrand, and NSFTQ


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.

Kyra asked:

If I already cleared Highmaul on normal difficulty with my guild, can we still do it on Heroic and get loot? People don't really agree on this, some say yes and others no. Any idea?

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Filed under: The Queue

Know Your Lore: 2014 Lore in review

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.

I like to do year end reviews of lore we've seen in the past year, but this year's review is going to be a little odd. A little different. This is largely because we didn't actually see a lot of lore introduced until November of this year, when Warlords of Draenor was finally released. Patch 5.4, the last content patch for Mists of Pandaria, was released in 2013. So we had the majority of a year with little to speak of in terms of lore and story development, and then a massive avalanche of new lore and story delivered just last month.

That makes reviewing kind of difficult. But at the same time, we do have plenty to talk about, particularly since we're dealing with a brand new expansion and a brand new world -- a world full of new mechanics, storytelling and characters that are just as vibrant and vivid as anything we've seen in Pandaria. So what did 2014 offer for the Warcraft lore fan, exactly -- and where did it falter?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

The Queue: You shall not pass

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.

Today's Queue has absolutely nothing to do with Gandalf, I swear.

Whiteout asked:

Question for the Eminent Queue: Have you discovered anything odd in World of Warcraft, not a bug or error produced by lag, but something intentionally placed in the world, whether it be in Outland, Azeroth, or Draenor?

Once upon a time back in vanilla WoW, there used to be places you could get to through ... creative use of game mechanics. I may or may not have been pretty good at getting into said places due to my overwhelming affection for punching the space bar and making my character jump every where I went. Back then, Hyjal wasn't a zone. It wasn't even an instance, it was a completely blocked off section of the map.

There was very little in it save canyons, paths, a few houses, and a layout that looked kind of similar to what we got with the Hyjal zone in Cataclysm. That big crater that Goldrinn's shrine is in? It was there back then. There were also a few instance portals that looked like they could go to a raid or a dungeon at some point in the future. And if you happened to follow the trail all the way to the top, you were treated to an amazing view of Archimonde's skeleton impaled upon the World Tree. And at the very, very end of that trail were the construction signs shown above, marked "Blizzard Construction Company." It was weird.

Maybe not quite as weird as the crypts beneath Karazhan, but it was pretty weird.

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Filed under: The Queue

The Queue: Disturbing orc face

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 think maybe I'm just never going to ask an orc to smile for the camera ever, ever again.

maalin asked:

Q4tQ: I got started late and am struggling to get my ilvl up before MC goes away. Why does MC not even show up in my lfg/lfr list? Others show up as disabled and the tool tip tells me what ilvl I need to queue.

Molten Core won't actually show up on your list of raids until you're at an ilvl of 615.

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Filed under: The Queue

The Queue: My cat is the best rogue ever

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.

That's my cat Sasquatch. He is adorable, and also, apparently he's a master of stealth. Just look at him up there. Oh, wait, you can't, because he's just that stealthy.

Right now, let's answer some WoW questions! The way Sasquatch would, with all the craft and guile of a master of subtlety. Failing that, let's just hide under a rug.

Bapo-The-Paladin asks:
So do all three world bosses share a loot lockout, or is it just Drov and Tarlna?

The hotfix makes it sound like it's just them, since Rukhan also drops higher ilvl gear?

Based on my reading of the patch notes it's just those two. I don't think there's a third for this to be applied to yet anyway.

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Filed under: The Queue

Getting started with pet battles in Warlords of Draenor

Though the basic battle pet system hasn't changed, if you're a pet collector heading into Warlords of Draenor you'll find plenty of new pets to collect, six new tamers to beat, daily battles at your garrison's menagerie, new achievements, and a new pet-centric currency. So where's a potential pet tamer to begin? We'll walk you through all of the pat battling Warlords has to offer.

Find and fight Draenor's pet tamers
There are six new tamers to battle in Draenor, one for every zone (excepting Tanaan and Ashran). You can fight each tamer once a day in exchange for 4 Pet Charms, which you can use to buy pet-centric gear at your garrison. In addition to fun toys like costumes and pet treats, you can buy bandages, and battle-stones. Amongst that gear, of the most interest to pet levelers will be: Marked Flawless Battle-Stones for 15 charms, Flawless Battle-Training Stones for 3 charms, and Mystery Bags which a random family battle-training stone for 2 charms.

Here's who you'll need to fight (and where you'll need to go) for your pet charms:

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Filed under: WoW Rookie

The Queue: It could all be about the pet battles on iPad


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.

Welcome to another week of Warcraft -- let's talk about WoW today, shall we?

Sgracy asked:

Do you think they should allow the battle pet game to be separately available on iPad, etc? I think it would do really well like Hearthstone, and Blizzard could make money too. I subbed 1 year back and really liked collecting battle pets. Since there is no pokemon on mobile yet, it would do really good.

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Filed under: The Queue

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The mystery of Archmage Khadgar

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.

Last week, we talked about the history of Khadgar -- a mage who had the unfortunate fortune of being apprenticed to Medivh, the Guardian of Tirisfal, just as the Guardian unleashed an angry bloodthirsty rampaging army of orcs upon Azeroth. It wasn't Medivh that carried out this task, but the spirit of Sargeras that lingered on inside him, passed on from his mother, Aegwynn. Although Khadgar eventually figured out this plot and confronted and defeated Medivh directly, the consequences for doing so were dire -- Khadgar found his magic and his vitality sapped away, aging from a youth to an old man near instantly.

The loss of so much of his precious mortality weighed hard on Khadgar, but it didn't stop him from accomplishing the seemingly impossible -- closing down the Dark Portal not once, but twice. The second time would be the last anyone would see of Khadgar for years, because he shut it down on the Draenor side of the Portal, stranding himself and the rest of the Alliance Expedition on the shattered wastelands of Outland until we found him again in Burning Crusade. And now, it seems Khadgar has closed the Dark Portal for a third time, with the aid of heroes both Alliance and Horde. Yet there's something strange about Khadgar, a peculiar mystery that keeps getting stranger the longer I look at it.

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition. The following contains speculation based on known material. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact or official lore.

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

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