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Posts with tag Scholomance

Know Your Lore: Lore summed up part 1 - Classic WoW

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.

A while back I did a history of the Pandaren Campaign that just gave a bare bones overview of what exactly happened between patch 5.0 and 5.4 in terms of the story. I understand that nine years of World of Warcraft can't be easily summed up. I don't expect I'll be able to do more than a cursory retelling of the major events, and I'll probably miss and leave out quite a few. So why do it at all?

I have a few reasons. The first is that some of this stuff is gone in game - it happened, but you can't go back and experience it any more. That makes it a part of the game that needs reminders from time to time, in my opinion. The second reason is because all of this lore shapes the game as it evolves - everything that has happened - it helps place things into context. And the third reason is because this stuff is all pretty awesome. It deserves to be retold.

We're going to try and do the game at launch this week, and come back to it on a regular basis.

So let us retell it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore

World of Warcraft comes to Skyrim with Scholomance dungeon

World of Warcraft comes to Skyrim with Scholomance dungeon
I have to confess: Scholomance and its spiritual successor Karazhan are still my favorite dungeons in the game. I must just have a thing about creepy castles full of necromancers, undead, and ghosts. Which would also explain why I like Bethesda's Skyrim so much, because everywhere you turn there are necromancers and their undead servants, just waiting for you to put them out of their lifeless misery.

So I can't even begin to explain how pleased I am to see that an intrepid modder has created a version of Scholomance within the world of Skyrim using the Skyrim Creation Kit. Mod-maker AquariusLAD says he tried to stay as close to the original as possible, and, judging by these screenshots, it really looks like he's succeeded. To enjoy Skyrim's version Scholomance, you need to be playing on the PC (sorry, console gamers!), where you download the mod file, unzip it, and drop it in the /data/ folder in your Skyrim directory. Once it's installed, you should find the entrance to Scholomance just inside the Markarth Emporium.

Filed under: Fan stuff

WoW Archivist: The keys to content

Karazhan entrance
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?

Keys in WoW have come in many forms. Some hang around our neck. Some hide in belts. Others open aircraft hangars or other, very special places. Some let us pretend to be rogues. Some never made it to the live game. Some we eat or play with. Some help us get the mail or reach new heights. We find some in unexpected places. A few are just trash.

This column is not about those keys. This is about the keys that used to be a Big Deal. The keys that people went to extraordinary lengths to obtain. The keys that put you on everyone's friends list. The keys to content.

Literal gates

Today, content is rarely locked. Players take it for granted that when a new dungeon or raid goes live, they will have immediate access. For the first half of WoW's history, however, this was not the case at all.

Vanilla WoW locked away virtually all of its end-game content. Raids required attunement, which means that every single person in your raid had to complete a certain quest line.

Keys worked differently. Content that required a key wasn't gated according to some arbitrary release schedule, such as the Heart of Fear -- but by actual gates.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Heroic Dungeon Bosses in 5 seconds

Heroic Dungeon Bosses in 5 seconds
Oh god, oh god, oh god... That really is a giant bug. So, there you are in the Gate of the Setting Sun heroic, on your first run, and a really giant bug comes smashing through the walls. A really giant bug. Really giant. Ugh.

You don't want to have to think on your feet, you don't want to have to explain tactics to the panda gently rocking in the corner, or the blood elf running in circles screaming "I can feel them crawling in my hair!" What you need is some five second explanations to copy and paste into chat, that your party can read and execute.

And it's OK, WoW Insider is here to help. We've totally stopped freaking out about the giant bug. If you're wondering where the heroic versions of the leveling dungeons feature in this guide, they don't. They're almost exactly the same as the leveling dungeons, for bosses in 5 seconds purposes!

Gate of the Setting Sun

Striker Ga'Dok: Don't stand in the green. Healers watch for Prey Time and Impaling Strike. His two strafing runs create a wide strip of death from one side to the other. Stay in corners. Tank adds.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Reminder: Scholomance and Scarlet Monastery prepped to change for good

Image
Everything is about to change -- again. Mists is nowhere near as world-changing as Cataclysm, but there are still going to be a couple of significant changes to the old world. Both Scholomance and Scarlet Monastery are being revamped into far more streamlined, efficient versions in preparation for their heroic iteration. Because of this, some bosses will be removed for good or changed in a significant way.

Although it has not been noted in the official patch notes for 5.0.4, players can access the lower-level version of the new Scholomance and Scarlet Monastery currently on the PTR. We don't know if this means this content will be included in the 5.0.4 patch on Aug. 28, because it's not specifically mentioned in the official patch notes, but both are playable on the PTR realms. In cases like this, it's better to be safe than sorry. Before any world changes happen, you may want to farm for any items you've been craving.

So what does that entail exactly? Here are a few suggestions.

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Filed under: Transmogrification, Mists of Pandaria

And the dungeons keep on shrinking

I've run the new Scarlet Monastery dungeons on the beta several times now. They're fun, well-designed, interesting dungeons. They are a bit jarring if you're familiar with the current Scarlet Monastery, however. The current four dungeons have been cut down to two, and it's been achieved by removing a lot of the long hallways full of trash pulls we're familiar with now. The Armory section of the new dungeon almost feels abrupt if you (like me) ran SM over and over again in the olden days of WoW.

It's not that the new dungeons are bad. They're objectively good, even great at places, with a good sense of the history of the place and call-backs to the classic dungeon.

They just feel kind of short to me. Smaller. Actually smaller, not in terms of the size of the hallways or anything but in terms of how much real estate they cover. And while I often rail against nostalgia, lately that sense of scale has been driving me to run older content not even to gather loot for transmog but just to see it, to look around at the scope and scale of the older dungeons.

Now, I don't want to pretend that these dungeons weren't often hideously irritating to run at the time. Getting a 5-man group all the way through Stratholme back when it was all one big, interconnected burning city full of undead and no one ever wanted to clear both sides wasn't anything but an exercise in learning colorful new metaphors as they spewed from your own mouth. You'd end up amazed you even knew the Basque term for that particular deviancy.

Still, there is something to be said for the epic scale of some of the older 5-man dungeons.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: The undead, part 3 -- the cold, bleak future

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.

One of the things I've most wanted to make clear in this series is that neither the Scourge nor the Forsaken have the monopoly on undeath now. The Scourge were joined by the will of the Lich King, and the Forsaken defined by their defection from the Scourge's ranks under Sylvanas Windrunner, but neither group created the state and neither has exclusive control over the creation of new undead. There are still vast numbers of Scourge in Northrend today, milling about under the control of the new Lich King, held in check but still a potential threat to the world. The Forsaken grow in numbers and might due to no small part to Sylvanas' deal with the val'kyr and her own experiments with the Plague of Undeath.

But both of these groups, for all their numbers, are not the only means to create more of those trapped between life and the sepulcher. The Risen (former Scarlet Crusaders from Stratholme and Tyr's Hand, now enslaved by Balnazzar), ancient and modern self-willed undead, and even those directly cursed by unfathomable forces (such as the continent of Kalimdor itself) have all existed over the years.

With the parting of the Mists of Pandaria, it would be easy to forget that the lands of Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms will not be standing still. We know that both Scarlet Monastery, home of those remaining forces that did not make the trip to Northrend as part of the Scarlet Onslaught after the onslaught of Acherus, and Scholomance itself will see new developments, new stories. As we turn our attention away from these cold, chill places, the dead refuse to remain quiet.

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

Mists of Pandaria: Dungeons and challenge mode

Mists of Pandaria will launch with nine heroic dungeons, four of which were previewed to one extent or another at last week's press event: Temple of the Jade Serpent, the Stormstout Brewery, the updated Scholomance, and the updated Scarlet Monastery.

Temple of the Jade Serpent

Blizzard is taking a new approach with its introductory dungeon of the expansion. Rather than starting you off in instances that are entirely secondary to the expansion's story arc and saving the dungeons that tie closest to the plot of the expansion for the level cap, the very first dungeon you run in Mists of Pandaria will set the story's tone. The Temple of the Jade Serpent will display the expansion's villainy right up front.

The sha, as you've heard by now, are the core external villains in the land of Pandaria. They are the manifestation of negative emotion. The Temple of the Jade Serpent will be your introduction to the sha. The Temple is where, once upon a time, an old emperor of Pandaria beat down the Sha of Doubt and saved the entire empire. Unfortunately, the war that the Horde and the Alliance have brought to Pandaria's shores has rekindled the Sha of Doubt and the temple has fallen under its influence.

We did get to tackle the Temple hands-on at the press event, so we can provide a few concrete details about the bosses within and their abilities.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: Scholomance revisited

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.

On a lone island located in the middle of Darrowmere Lake it sits, the remnants of the keep of Caer Darrow. The history of this isle dates all the way back to the high elves of Quel'Danas, who used the site as the location of one of many runestones the quel'dorei used. But the history of this isle has been lost in the face of far more recent history -- the history of the noble Barov family and their downfall, the history of a school dedicated to horrors the rest of Azeroth would rather forget.

During the Second War, the ancient site was invaded by the Horde, who took the runestone and broke it into pieces that were taken to create Altars of Storms. And some time after that, the Barov line came to own the property, as well as several others across Lordaeron. The Barovs, however, were not content with their mass amounts of land -- they wanted to make sure they held that land and their fortune for as long as possible. And so they struck a deal with a powerful mage, one who could easily give them all they asked and more ... for a price.

The mage's name was Kel'Thuzad.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

20 observations from a leveling tank

My main is a druid tank and healer, but on occasion, I've returned to two low-level warrior alts and braved leveling in the Dungeon Finder. Most leveling groups are a bit like the proverbial little girl with pigtails: When they're good, they're very, very good ... and when they're bad, they're horrid.

The following is a list of somewhat random observations I have collected after several expansions' worth of tanking for low-level groups.

1. Don't take shortcuts on trash packs. The time you save sneaking past one of them will be eliminated by the time you'll lose when someone blunders into them and dies.

2. Someone will almost always blunder into them and die.

3. Despite common complaints on the forums, the vast majority of players are actually really nice people who are perfectly willing to tolerate mistakes and the learning curve. The actual occurrence of true, unforgivable jackasses seems to be about one per five groups, although this depends on when you're queuing.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

BlizzCon 2011: Dungeons and Raids information

If you're not at BlizzCon, or watching the live stream, then worry not for we're liveblogging the events and the Dungeons and Raids portion of the Mists of Pandaria preview had some interesting news all told.

For starters, there will be 9 new dunegons, six across Pandaria itself and three heroic versions of classic instances, namely Scholomance and two updated wings of the Scarlet Monastery. The new dungeons will include the Stormstout Brewery, where you work alongside Chen Stormstout himself.

There will also be three raids at launch featuring the Mogu and the Mantid races, and Raid Finder will be integrated into every raid at Mists of Pandaria's launch. World raid bosses will also be included, as Cory Stockton says "There were problems ... we've got solutions to those problems."

Stay tuned to the Raid and Dungeons panel which will be liveblogged by us.


The news is out -- we'll be playing Mists of Pandaria! Find out what's in store with an all-new talent system, peek over our shoulder at our Pandaren hands-on, and get ready to battle your companion pets against others. It's all here right at WoW Insider!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Raiding, Lore, BlizzCon

Choose My Adventure Live: Mid-40s dungeon

Choose the adventures of Robin Torres as Roblinator the goblin shamanator or join in with <It came from the Blog> on Zangarmarsh (US-PVE-H) every Monday at 1 p.m. EDT.

With today being a U.S. holiday, we may have fewer people than usual or more than ever -- who knows? I will be healing or DPSing, depending on what we need for a shorter queue -- if we need a queue at all. I'm hoping that it will be another guild run, however. Join us in game or by watching the stream above and participating in the chat after the break.

Update: The stream is now over. You may watch the replay of our trip through Scholomance by clicking on the image above.

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Filed under: It Came from the Blog, Choose My Adventure

WoW Archivist: World of Warcraft beta patch 0.12

The WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? What secrets does the game still hold? If you enjoyed Patches of Yesteryear, you're going to love this.

World of Warcraft's beta patch 0.12 marked the final pre-release patch of the game. Patch 1.1 was the official release candidate, but this was the final cycle of the beta. Some highlights from this patch include:
  • The item durability system was implemented.
  • You could no longer complete standard quests in a raid group.
  • Scholomance and Ragefire Chasm were implemented.
Let's discuss, shall we?

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Gold Capped: The market for enchanting mats for BoA gear

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Gold Capped, in which Basil "Euripides" Berntsen aims to show you how to make money on the auction house. Email Basil with your questions, comments, or hate mail!

A long-running, profitable business is selling enchanting scrolls that can be put on BoA gear. These all have no minimum level, since BoA gear is considered level 1, which means they typically take lower-level enchanting mats. Some good examples of these mats are Large Brilliant Shards and Greater Eternal Essences, which are used for a bunch of enchants like Crusader and Spellpower.

The price for these mats have gone up quite a bit on most realms since Cataclysm, and the reason is clear: The ilevels of the drops in Stratholme were reduced in patch 4.0.1, and the drops in there no longer disenchant into the same mats.

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Filed under: Economy, Gold Capped

Collecting Armor Sets: Dungeon set 2

For the longest time in vanilla World of Warcraft, players were content with collecting the dungeon set 1 pieces from Stratholme, Scholomance and Blackrock Spire. A purple item was a incredibly rare thing to see in the early days of WoW. It was a status symbol, a badge of pride for raiders who managed to band together to defeat Onyxia or brave the depths of Molten Core. With epic items soon came epic discontent, largely from casual players who either didn't have the time or the inclination to raid. As time went on and more raid dungeons were released, the complaining continued; players who were unable to dedicate the time needed to successfully complete a 40-man raid dungeon felt it was unfair that they could not obtain epic gear.

It was a valid complaint, but it took well over two years before Blizzard finally did something about it. About four months after the release of Ahn'Quiraj, Blizzard implemented Patch 1.10, "Storms of Azeroth." Among the fun changes like the introduction of weather in Azeroth and quest-experience-to-gold conversion at level 60, casual players finally received what they'd been asking for: a quest line that didn't require raiding and would allow them to upgrade their dungeon sets one into new ones that included epic gear. This set is called, appropriately enough, dungeon set 2.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, RP

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