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Posts with tag Hyjal

The surreal concept of neutrality in Warcraft

Remember the Argent Crusade? It was a result of merging two factions -- the Argent Dawn, which spent its time in the Eastern Plaguelands trying to eradicate the Scourge, and the reformed Order of the Silver Hand, an Alliance order of paladins formed by Uther the Lightbringer and Alonsus Faol. The Argent Crusade accepted members of both Alliance and Horde who wanted to fight toward the Crusade's ultimate goal: the defeat of the Lich King. Today, the Argent Crusade sits in Hearthglen, working to restore the Western Plaguelands to their former beauty.

The Argent Crusade is just one of the neutral factions in WoW, along with the Cenarion Circle, the Shattered Sun Offensive, the Earthen Ring and many others. Chris Metzen spoke about the Argent Crusade and the concept of neutral factions in our Mists of Pandaria press event interview, citing the Argent Crusade as one of the neutral factions that just rang true, whereas the Shattered Sun Offensive simply didn't feel quite as emotional.

But here's the thing -- the Argent Crusade, while being very active in Wrath, is hardly doing anything at all in the Western Plaguelands. There's a fight for Andorhal going on on the Crusade's doorstep, but they aren't stepping in. The Forsaken -- members of the Horde -- are actively seeking out activities that look suspiciously like Scourge activity, even going so far as to recruit the val'kyr, former servants of Arthas.

So ... what gives?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

First chapter of new Wolfheart novel free to read

Varian Wrynn
The Sept. 13 publication date of Wolfheart, the newest WoW novel written by Richard Knaak, draws ever closer. We know surprisingly little about it at the moment. We know that it will take place on Kalimdor but will focus on King Varian Wrynn and his relationship with the wolf spirit Goldrinn and the new members of the Alliance, the Worgen. If you're eager for more information though, you're in luck. Shelfari, a book wiki run by Amazon.com, has the first chapter of the book available to read.

Click here for your free sample chapter and choose the Read First Chapter Free button below the picture of the book cover on the left side of the page. You'll be able to read the first chapter, as well as the chapter titles for the book (by pushing the back arrow on the pages). There are going to be a lot of spoilers in both the chapter names and the chapter itself, of course, so read at your own risk. For a quick (spoiler-filled) summary and a discussion of the possibilities, check after the break.

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Filed under: News items, Lore, Worgen

Dev Watercooler: Content for the casual 85

The newest Dev Watercooler column gives King Crab a break and instead lets us peek into the mind of Dave "Fargo" Kosak, lead quest designer for World of Warcraft. You might remember Fargo from Flintlocke's Guide to Azeroth and GameSpy days. Fargo's Dev Watercooler is all about experiencing World of Warcraft as a non-raider and what Blizzard's expectations are for level 85s who aren't bashing down Ragnaros' door.

One of the weirdest statements that I have to make to many people who are new to the MMO genre is that "the game begins at 85." While we know that isn't factually correct, since there are 85 levels of content previous to hitting the magic number, it still makes sense from a "never-ending world" point of view. There is no end, so the game begins at the "current" end.

Fargo makes the case that all players are entitled to an epic storyline, engaging content, and a feeling of continual power growth. The new patch 4.2 Firelands daily quest hubs in the Molten Front and the Regrowth are tailor-made to hit these points and provide a personal, continuing experience for players who don't participate in the raid game. With dailies being randomized and your personal tree growing at your own pace, players are rewarded based on their efforts alone.

Personally, I like this direction for solo questing experiences. The Molten Front and the Regrowth seem like better, more advanced, and more evolved versions of the reputation grinds we were previously chugging away at to open up gear and other rewards, but with less of a "watch a bar go up" mentality. Here, we have engaging choices and rotating sets of random tasks that keep us coming back for more, all the while physically changing the world around us. Now we just need to care about the cause. I think Firelands is going to push us a good way forward in that regard.

Check out Fargo's first contribution to the Dev Watercooler series, after the jump.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

Does Cataclysm have too much potential content?

I was running around Uldum recently, doing the Ramkahen quests on yet another new 85, when it occurred to me that Uldum itself feels like the story has barely been told. Sure, we run around doing odd jobs for Harrison Jones, then we infiltrate the Halls of Origination and turn off the big doomsday device Algalon was going to use on us. And sure, we eventually crash into the Vortex Pinnacle and Throne of the Four Winds to stop Al'Akir and his minions. But what about the connection between Silithus and Uldum?

We know that Ahn'Qiraj was a lost titan city and that the Tol'vir were assigned to it, that entities like Ossirian were once watchers like Setesh. (Setesh's model is nearly identical to the Anubisath that patrol AQ today.) It just feels like, with C'thun obviously driving Cho'gall around even after his "death," that there's room for a whole raid just dealing with the lost connections between AQ and Uldum. The lost passages of the titan research facility that the Qiraji took over? (We know from Uldaman and Ulduar that titan constructions tend to go on for miles and miles.)

And that's hardly even the top of the list of raid instances we could see. A lot of us hoped for and expected an Abyssal Maw raid of some kind. There's a lot of talk about another Caverns of Time instance or raid with Nozdorumu's return. And I can't be the only one who keeps thinking that Grim Batol has entire layers we haven't seen yet. Heck, there are whole terraces in Deepholm we visit once and never go back to, and that whole zone is massive and cries out for more.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Cataclysm

Cataclysm Post-Mortem: Hyjal

Alex Ziebart and Mathew McCurley (that's me) decided to give each Cataclysm zone the once-over now that we're many months out from the release of the expansion. In this post-mortem series, we'll examine (in our own opinions and words) what worked and what didn't work in terms of story, quests, and overall feel for the zones and the cool moments that dotted the landscape. Join us for a discussion about Cataclysm's new level 80 to 85 content and what made the cut as the most compelling experiences.

Hyjal is home to the majestic world tree Nordrassil, once under siege by the Burning Legion and Archimonde, an eredar leader and lieutenant of Sargeras. In Warcraft III, we vanquished Archimonde at Nordrassil and subsequently went back and ended his campaign in Hyjal through the Caverns of Time. Now, Ragnaros the Firelord has returned to Azeroth with the help of Deathwing and has invaded the sacred mountain with one goal -- destroy the wardens of Hyjal and burn their tree to the ground.

Hyjal's story

Mathew: I had an odd experience with the story at Hyjal, mostly because at first, I couldn't have given a damn about the druids and the Emerald Dream and all of that. The first time I went through Hyjal, it was a sprint, and I never stopped to smell the roses, since we were racing to 85.

It was only after I did Hyjal a second or third time that I truly dug in and found the wonderful story of the zone. Now, I am 100% involved in the Hyjal story and am really excited to see where it's going. Now, the druids are my best friends, and there is nothing I want to do more than help ancients punch fire elementals in their fiery faces.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Patch 4.2 Daily Quests: Punting Season and Echoes of Nemesis

Patch 4.2 is bringing one of the most ambitious daily quest hubs ever to World of Warcraft, as players dive into Ragnaros' fiery domain. Before players enter the Firelands, however, there is work to be done in the Regrowth, an area of Mount Hyjal under siege by Ragnaros' minions and the Druids of the Flame. Are you a bad enough dude to repel invaders from the Firelands?

Players begin at the Sanctuary of Malorne, where Matoclaw, Malfurion, and Mylune offer players quests to fend off invaders, save the denizens of Hyjal, and team up with the ancients once again. Today, we're going to talk about one of the most fun dailies since the creation of bombing runs back in The Burning Crusade: turtle punting.

Today's quests:
Remember, there are mild spoilers about quests launching with patch 4.2, so please be warned if you're particular about that sort of thing.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Patch 4.2 Daily Quests: Call the Flock, Wings Aflame, and Rage Against the Flames

Ragnaros' minions are on the move in Hyjal in patch 4.2, and it is up to you to push them back to their fiery domain. These two quests take place near the Grove of Aessina and the Whistling Grove, the site of some of the game's most adorable quests in which players save little forest creatures. Now, the druids of the flame and their Firelands friends have set up shop, returning to burning down everything in their path. A portal to the Firelands has sprung up, with the promise of delivering more hurt from beyond Hyjal.

Remember, there are mild spoilers about quests launching with patch 4.2, so please be warned if you're particular about that sort of thing.

Today, we'll look at:

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Patch 4.2: Avengers of Hyjal reputation rings

The Avengers of Hyjal is the new raid reputation being introduced with patch 4.2 for raiders daring enough to enter the Firelands and do battle with Ragnaros' minions. Much like the Ashen Verdict, players will be able to gain rewards with the Avengers as they progress up the reputation tiers. At exalted, ilevel 391 rings will become available in a variety of styles. So far, these rings are available on the PTR:
Blizzard has said that the Avengers of Hyjal faction will work differently from the Ashen Verdict, however, in that it does not want players farming the trash in the Firelands for reputation. Rather, it looks like we will get a system like the Brood of Nozdormu or Hydraxian Waterlords, where after a certain reputation level, the only way to increase your standing with the faction is to kill bosses.

The news is already rolling out for the upcoming WoW Patch 4.2! Preview the new Firelands raid, marvel at the new legendary staff, and get the inside scoop on new quest hubs -- plus new Tier 12 armor!

Filed under: Raiding, Cataclysm

Patch 4.2: New achievements include new daily areas and companion pets

Tons of new achievements have been added to the PTR for the upcoming patch 4.2, including the Molten Front and the Regrowth achievements. Blizzard has stated that a bunch of the encounters in the new daily hubs will be directly linked to "raid-type" damage dodging and healing, so it is nice to see achievements for some of those feats.

Some of the achievements hint at some awesome characters showing up in unexpected places, like Have... Have We Met?, potentially getting Mankrik, Thassarian, Linken, and more on the front lines in Hyjal and the Firelands. Also, pet collectors are going to jump for joy, as collecting 100, 125 and 150 pets now rewards players with pet biscuits for 100 and 125, and a new pet, Nuts, at the 150 mark.

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Filed under: Achievements, Cataclysm

Patch 4.2: Firelands lore spoilers and speculations

If you're into the lore of World of Warcraft, then patch 4.2 is already shaping up to have some surprises for you. Having recently been on the PTR, I got a chance to play through the introductory quests on Mount Hyjal that transition into the new daily quests and set the stage for the raid. In less than an hour of gameplay, some interesting new tidbits were revealed.

These are all spoilers -- nothing but spoilers from this sentence on.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Cataclysm

Cory Stockton interview reveals more info on Firelands in patch 4.2

In an interview with buffed.de, WoW Lead Content Designer Cory Stockton let loose information on patch 4.2, including information on the Firelands raid, the tier 12 armor sets, new epic quests revolving around Thrall, the Firelands daily area, and much more. Keep reading for a summary of the big stuff.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Patch 4.2 Firelands and daily quests preview up now

If you've been waiting for Patch 4.2 preview videos, Blizzard has you covered. Yes, the official site has video trailers previewing not only the Firelands raid, but also what we're going to be doing for our daily quests to restore the former glory of Mount Hyjal after the eruption of the fire elementals and their lord Ragnaros onto its slopes. So far, I see a whole lot of magma- and fire-based things to kill, some chaotic-looking mechanics, and Fandral "I am so on fire" Staghelm seems to make an appearance near the end with fire scorpion and firecat forms.

After the break, you can watch the Daily Quest preview movie. It shows a bit of the natural world reclaimed but in general is mostly some kicking vistas. Looks like 4.2 is going to be a rather incendiary one for Cataclysm.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Cataclysm

How I learned to stop worrying and love level 70

It all started on a lark. Some friends wanted to run BWL, but for whatever reason I said, "Hey, why not do Black Temple instead?" In my opinion, BT is one of the best instances in the game, with some fantastic architecture and art and really excellent boss design, both visually and in terms of what the designers did mechanically at the time. The Reliquary of Souls encounter is still fascinating to watch, and I'm kind of a fanboy for Teron Gorefiend. To be honest, I still find myself wondering if Illidan was being controlled by Gul'dan, considering that Gorefiend, Gul'dan's first death knight, ended up gravitating to the Temple.

On our way to the Black Temple, as a lark, I asked if I could bring my level 70 warrior I'd started the week before Cataclysm dropped in order to test the new talent spec and leveling changes. Oh, and because I have a problem. I figured what the heck, I could maybe snag a couple of pieces of gear that would last into the mid-70s if I ever played her again.

Six drops later, I'd locked her XP gain and run Hyjal, Karazhan, ZA and Sunwell on her, and I am probably going to do so again.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade

Know Your Lore: Fandral, Feralas, and the struggle of the Green Dragonflight

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.
In the sunken city, he lays dreaming ...
The drowned god's heart is black ice ...
At the bottom of the ocean even light must die ...
Do you dream while you sleep or is it an escape from the horrors of reality?

-- The Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron
We've discussed the Green Dragonflight before, from the history and background of the flight itself to the events that occurred during the Nightmare War. But the activities of the green flight continue in Cataclysm, both in the northern reaches of Hyjal and elsewhere around the world. Despite the victory at the end of Stormrage, the troubles of the Green Dragonflight are far from over, and the threat of the Emerald Nightmare still looms.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Cataclysm 101: What to do first in Cataclysm

Cataclysm has already gone live in Europe, and it's only hours away now for those of us in North America. Are you prepared for it? Do you know what you need to know to hit the ground running when Cataclysm content becomes active on live realms? If you don't, we're here to help. Below are answers to some of the most common questions that have been asked about starting the Cataclysm experience.

How do I learn to fly in old Azeroth?

You can get your Flight Master's License in Outland or Northrend, but the much better options are Stormwind for the Alliance and Orgrimmar for the Horde. Horde players want to talk to Maztha and Alliance players want to talk to Bralla Cloudwing. Wowhead has excellent maps for finding both of them.

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Filed under: Cataclysm, Archaeology

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