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Posts with tag Shattrath

Breakfast Topic: Old school questing

Mankrik's Wife
In the WoD beta, if you choose to put a Barn on the first available medium plot in your Garrison, as I did circa level 92, you immediately receive a quest from the NPCs there to head to Nagrand and trap an animal. So off I went, west out of Shadowmoon Valley, through Taladar and toward Nagrand, seeking my quarry. This was a mistake. All roads in Taladar lead to Shattrath, and Shattrath is under siege by both level 100 Iron Horde soldiers and demons of the Shadow Council. If you try to run south around Shattrath, you'll end up in Auchindoun, also overrun by Shadow Council demons and a load of other nasties who are way above level 92. Once you've finally made it into Nagrand, you'll discover that it's a level 98-100 zone. Oops.

After many deaths in Nagrand, I finally managed to successfully trap a clefthoof and returned, bruised, battered, but at least triumphant, to my Garrison, where I vowed never to set foot in Nagrand again for at least another five levels, Barn resources be damned. Upon reciting my tale of woe to sympathetic colleague Liz Harper--who went through the same thing when she too chose to put a Barn in her Garrison--I realized that I felt almost like I was picking up my swim form quest in Moonglade as a level 16 night elf druid, only to find that half of the amulet I needed was off the coast of Westfall. I had the same sense of apprehension about the unknown zones I had to head through, frustration when I found I wasn't quite up to the task, and eventual elation as I managed to finish the quest anyway. I thought, "Would I want this kind of questing experience to be a regular WoW feature again?" Is the fist-pumping moment of triumph worth the reckless blundering through two zones full of red-leveled, hostile mobs? Honestly, I'm not sure. What about you? Would you be eager to rise to the challenge, or frustrated to be handed a task so far beyond your current means? How old-school do you want to go?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Warlords of Draenor: New maps of Auchindoun and Talador

As the Alpha continues apace, we're starting to see more details - like these maps of the upcoming Auchindoun dungeon and the Talador zone, up on Wowhead now. alongside this list of new items which reference the zone. Since Talador corresponds to the Terokkar Forest zone from The Burning Crusade, it's not surprising to see Shattrath and Auchindoun on it - but what is interesting is to see the city of Telmor (destroyed by the old Horde in our history) make its first in-game appearance. Since Telmor is the city where a young Durotan and Orgrim Doomhammer were taken after being rescued from an ogre patrol as well as the place hidden by Leafshadow, one of the Ata'mal Crystals, its appearance on the map is pretty important in terms of what it hints about the zone.

It's pretty interesting to see both Fort Wrynn and Vol'jin's Pride on the map as well. Both settlements are suspiciously close together considering the recent hostilities - a sign that relations between the two factions have improved? Or simply a case of real estate being limited? Old familiar names like Tuurem and the Tomb of Lights are present as well. We're definitely getting a sense of the zone and I'm looking forward to unraveling the story of the place.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: Draenor, as the draenei saw


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.

The draenei were barely a part of Draenor - despite naming it, they lived there barely a few hundred years before (in our history) the rise of the Horde ended their respite from thousands of years of fear and endless retreat across the universe. Draenor (Exile's Refuge, in the language of the draenei) ended up as a cruel, mocking joke of a name, for there was no refuge to be found there. In our history, barely a tenth of their people survived the orcs to escape to Azeroth.

Now a new history unfolds, a new day dawns, and we can follow where it leads. A new Draenor, one where the battle between orc and draenei has yet to be decided. But what do we know of the draenei on Draenor? Where did they live, how did they live? What were their settlements, what was their culture like? What, in other words, are we being given the chance to save? We can look at what we know from our trip to Outland and what we've been told.

We don't know the name for every old draenei settlement that existed on Draenor. There were quite a few of them, many of which only endured in the time of Outland's appearance in The Burning Crusade as ruins, and sometimes these ruins were renamed by their occupiers. Sites such as Eclipse Point in Shadowmoon Valley were once thriving draenei settlements - now even their names are lost. Until we make the trip through to the Draenor of Warlords, however, all we can do is examine what's left, and surmise based on it.

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Filed under: The Burning Crusade, Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: Khadgar, Archmage of the Kirin Tor

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.

What do you do when your life is stripped away? Khadgar is an Archmage of the Kirin Tor -- one of the members of the Council of Six, and a powerful mage in his own right. Ancient and wizened, in his lifetime Khadgar has confronted the shadow of Sargeras, faced the orc legions that poured through the Dark Portal, seen Draenor shattered into a wasteland, and even confronted Deathwing himself and survived. And after all that was said and done, he was the first human to reach out and connect with the enigmatic naaru, bringing A'dal and his forces to Outland.

And he's done all of this by age forty-four.

Forty-four? Yes. There's much more to Khadgar than his appearance might suggest. Although his body may be ancient and wizened, there is nothing stopping what is still a fairly young and incredibly intelligent mind. But Khadgar may not be where he expected to be when, at age 17, he was asked to apprentice to the most unlikely tutor in the Eastern Kingdoms. His name was Medivh.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The warlords of Draenor

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.

Originally, Draenor was a planet with a nigh-uneventful history until a series of progressively more incredible and unusual events, brought to the world from outside sources, plunged it into chaos. According to what we knew -- which was admittedly very little -- the orc clans of Draenor had no issues with the rest of the world, or with each other. There may have been the occasional squabbles between clans, but there was nothing remotely resembling full out war ... at least nothing that's been recorded in history as we know it. However, the announcement of Warlords of Draenor seems to indicate a big history lesson is on the way.

Draenor's history, one distinct moment in time has been altered, creating a separate fork -- a bubble of time, if you will -- that has changed the fates of these old heroes. So who are the Warlords of Draenor? We have their names. What we don't have is the new history revealed in the expansion just yet. But even in the original timeline, these orc warlords each had different, unique histories that all tied in together, courtesy of the Burning Legion's meddling and influence.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Why the Burning Crusade didn't suck

Why the Burning Crusade didn't suck
Yesterday, Brian Wood explored his thoughts on why Burning Crusade sucked. He did it in-character, playing the role of Grandpappy Frostheim, laying out his thoughts in the persona of a grumpy, crusty old dwarf telling the young'uns how bad things were back in his day. You can't take a persona like that seriously -- and you're not supposed to -- but the piece made me think about why I love Burning Crusade so much. Even after all of this time, it remains my favorite expansion, though Mists of Pandaria is pretty darn good.

Yeah, Burning Crusade had its faults. It wasn't as well-balanced as most remember, it had more than its fair share of annoying gameplay mechanics, and the fact that the developers hadn't yet solidified the roles of 10- and 25-man raids was a real drag at times. If Burning Crusade were released this year, it would have a terrible reception. There have been so many quality-of-life improvements made since its release that players would never want to live as we did in Burning Crusade ever again. Despite that, it still had many elements that I loved, and still love. Many of these things are nebulous and completely up to personal tastes -- what I love, you may hate, and that's fine. That's how opinions work.

Stranger in a strange land

To me, Outland defined the Warcraft franchise's storytelling capabilities. Though Warcraft often utilizes the same fantasy tropes you see just about everywhere in the genre, it wasn't afraid to be different -- we went to a new, completely alien planet. The playable draenei were a race of people who traverse the stars. The ethereals were merchants from another plane of existence. Outland was not just a subcontinent of Azeroth, it was a new world entirely. While it has been done in fantasy, it isn't done very often.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade

Know Your Lore: Of Elune, naaru, and night elves

Know Your Lore Of Elune, naaru, and night elves SUN
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.

Before we begin, I feel I should point out that the screenshot above is one that I created for the purposes of an article I wrote detailing the possible wind-chime origins of everyone's favorite kaldorei deity. It was not real then, and it is no more real now, over two years later. That article pointed out the possible correlations between the goddess Elune, the holy Light, An'she, and what might have been naaru intervention instead of divine, as the night elves would have everyone believe.

And while it connected a lot of dots, it was not true. It was simple theory and speculation. However, recent Ask a Cdev answers have once again brought the question of Elune's origins into play, and player reaction has been less than enthusiastic about the supposed confirmation. Most complain that making Elune a mere naaru is basically homogenizing night elf culture and history, something that plenty of players are apparently really passionate about.

To which I say two words: don't panic.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Breakfast Topic: Are neutral cities better for server communities?

Image
I ran into an old friend from the Burning Crusade days recently, and we found ourselves reminiscing about the things we missed from that expansion. While we both agreed that the quality of the play experience is way better these days, there was one thing that we both missed: Shattrath.

As any BC-era player could tell you, Shattrath was a busy place, with players getting their tailoring and blacksmithing done in Lower City, loitering around the Scryer and Aldor bank ledges, playing chicken with the elevators, and riffing on Cro Threadstrong's threats to the nearby fruit vendor. Because the Alliance and Horde were both headquartered in the city and there were no faction restrictions on which of the two banks and inns you used, it was pretty common to encounter both friends and enemies as you went about your business (or, just as commonly, sat somewhere and gossiped in guild chat). While we were chatting about this, my friend said something that stuck with me: "It felt like you cared more about players from the opposite faction because you saw them all the time."

The more I thought about it, the more I felt he was right. I knew if my counterparts in Alliance raiding guilds had upgraded their gear, /waved at them a lot, and /pointed and /cheered to the telltale flames in the central part of the city to congratulate them on their Kael kill. In Cataclysm, we find ourselves largely on opposite sides of the world and encounter each other but rarely outside of the entrances to raids or while farming in higher-level zones.

Now obviously, there are technical issues with sticking players of both factions into the same city (Dalaran was famously laggy for most of Wrath of the Lich King), and given the Mists of Pandaria storyline, it doesn't make much sense to encourage interfaction closeness. But still I wonder, would the sense of server community (otherwise hurt by the success of the Dungeon Finder and Raid Finder) benefit from the reintroduction of a popular neutral city?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Know Your Lore, TFH edition: The true battle between Light and Darkness

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.
Even now, the true battle between the forces of Light and Darkness approaches. We will all be called to join, and in the face of this conflict, all mortal suffering will be meaningless.
Cataclysm is an expansion about the struggle to stop the end of the world and the struggle between Horde and Alliance. But in the 1-to-60 zone revamps, there are fascinating little bits of lore to be discovered. Most of these involve the Alliance/Horde conflict, but every now and again, you'll find a quest chain that leaves more questions than answers, more mystery than resolution.

One of these chains begins for Alliance players in the Swamp of Sorrows, and it seems to be harmless enough. A Broken draenei named Magtoor is on his deathbed, and Anchorite Avuun is desperately looking for a cure. In Magtoor's final moments, Prophet Velen appears and returns Magtoor to the embrace of the Light with a little speech, including the quote above. The quest chain is fairly straightforward ... until we start picking at the potential meanings of that phrase.

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition, meaning the following is a look into what has gone before with pure speculation on how it happened. 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

Know Your Lore: Current Alliance politics -- the Draenei

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.

Well, after last weeks extensive look into dwarven politics we're closing in on finishing off the Alliance. So far we've seen the night elves, the gnomes, and the dwarves – today we'll take a brief look at the Alliance race that hasn't had much to say since Burning Crusade: the Draenei.

Luckily Matthew Rossi has already written up an excellent post on the history of the draenei and their otherworldly origins. This post explains the corruption of the eredar at the hands of Sargeras, and the lone faction of eredar that escaped to become what we know as the draenei today. It's only been a couple of years at best from a timeline standpoint since the blue-skinned aliens made a smashing debut on Azeroth, yet they've been largely absent from the war efforts in Northrend -- what's left for the draenei, and what does their future with the Alliance hold?

The draenei race is quite possibly the most peaceful race the Alliance has on their side. While the other races of the Alliance are prone to conflicts and struggles over petty disagreements, the draenei only seem to strike out in defense. Their arrival on Azeroth wasn't pretty -- they ended up tearing up the landscape over on Azuremyst and Bloodmyst isles. While they were of course concerned about their fellow survivors, they were just as concerned with what they'd done to the land and the creatures on it -- as a society concerned with not only the Light of the naaru, but the elements of shamanism, the last thing they wanted to do was wreak havoc on a new world, especially since they'd just left a dying world behind.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Spiritual Guidance: Benediction

Though temporarily bested by Sindragosa's Ice Tombs, a well-timed Renew and some gnome mages have freed Dawn Moore just in time for her to wrench back Spiritual Guidance from the shady clutches of Fox Van Allen; just as she does every Sunday. After she finishes advising her fellow healing priests on the ways of the light this week, she will be waiting for a duel in Zangarmarsh atop the highest mushroom with a Flag of Ownership and Medallion of the Horde. Bring it!

I've had a lot of requests recently from readers who want a leg up on gearing out their soon to be level 80, or fresh level 80 priest for raiding. This is certainly a worthwhile topic, one I intend to get to, but not this week.

We get a lot of mail at WoW.com and this past week we got an e-mail from a player named Nemikahn who wrote a WoW version of the song Sunscreen. The various staffers read through the e-mail, groaned in realization at how old they were (the original song came out in 1998) before the e-mail got lost in the jumble of BlizzCon 2010 news. I really enjoyed the rewrite though, and thought it rather timely given we are nearing the end of this expansion. Cataclysm is coming, and it's supposed to change everything we've become familiar with. So, this week my fellow priests, my guidance is this: stop and smell the flowers. WoW operates at such a hurried pace these days. Don't feel like you always have to rush off to the next raid or complete another alt. Take more screen shots, visit your favorite zones, make sure you can contact your closest friends in the game outside of it, and most of all: create Benediction. I will, of course, help you with that last part.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance, Cataclysm

Breakfast Topic: Mister Jones and me

Jones and I are buds. He's a cat that likes to hang out on the landing in the stairwell of the Legerdemain Lounge in Dalaran. He's a stealthy little guy -- he doesn't even have a listing on Wowhead, but if you stop to give Jones a /pet, he'll purr contentedly. I like to hang out in the stairwell sometimes, just Jones and me -- it's a relatively quiet spot in the middle of a usually busy area, and I can sort through my bags, chat with the guild, harass trade chat engage in some lively banter in local channels, and just hang out without being pestered. I've got a few different spots I like to hang out at, and the locations change every expansion or depending on what I'm focusing on at the time, but nothing beats Jones, he's the best.

I'm not sure why exactly I like finding non-crowded places to sit and chat with people -- it shouldn't really make a difference where I'm typing to people from, but I enjoy the relative solitude in what is otherwise a very busy and populated game. And every expansion it happens -- in vanilla, it was the upper buildings in the Drag in Orgrimmar. In Burning Crusade, I liked the relative quiet that could be found in the World's End Tavern in Shattrath, or the rocks up above the city. In Wrath, it's either the Underbelly, or the little landing in the Legerdemain that I share with Jones. He doesn't mind, he's a pretty well mannered kitty. Sometimes we tell each other fairy tales.

So how about you guys? Do you have a favorite spot to sit and chat? Does the generally crowded nature of Dalaran bother you? Do you, like me, seek out an area of relative solitude to hang out at when you aren't off storming the castle or otherwise occupied?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Does this topic not value its life

Meet Cro. Cro's just an orc trying to make a living down in Lower City, but apparently it's not as easy to just sell some items and be a vendor as everyone thinks. In Burning Crusade, players were entertained by the ongoing saga of orc vs. fruit vendor -- a tiny little old lady who seems a bit absent-minded at best, and doesn't realize the orc is screaming about her. This began with simple screaming from the orc, who was outraged at the apple cart parked smack in front of his stall, and quickly progressed into a self-perceived war which ended, ultimately, with Cro selling the apples out of the cart and encouraging people to crush them. Lower City was full of this random NPC interaction and storylines, between the Cro saga, Griftah's ongoing struggle to stay in the city's limits, and the continuing adventures of Investigator Asric and Peacekeeper Jadaar.

But let's get back to Cro. I find sometimes when wandering around Dalaran that I miss the orc's frenetic shrieking and paranoia. And then I find myself wondering what would happen if the simple leatherworker, sick of the fruit wagon nonsense, up and moved to Dalaran to try and do business there. What would Cro do? Who would he ally with? Would he berate Marcia Chase until she remembered the stupid secret of the Ghostfish and finally stopped calling it a mystery? Would Minigob Manabonk take some small amount of pleasure in repeatedly turning the bellowing orc into a sheep?

I have no idea but the speculation has been entertaining me for the last half hour or so, so have at it, Breakfast Topic readers: If suddenly relocated to Dalaran, What Would Cro Do?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Queue: Earthquake bonanza

Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW.com team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

Today we're going to skip the wacky shenanigans that usually plague the intros to the Queue. Instead, I'm going to blow your minds with the news that Chile's recent earthquake was large enough that it has potentially moved the Earth's axis and an Earth day is now shorter because of it.

dav103id asked...

"When running Shadowfang Keep during Love is in the Air, did anyone else notice Arugal on the other side of the courthouse gate when you first enter the instance? Has he always been there at that location or was he added for the Love is in the Air boss event?"

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue, Cataclysm

All the World's a Stage: Location, location, location

It's probably simply a reflection of my own, long habits in terms of MMORPGs, but I tend to put a lot of thought in where to roleplay. I mean, a lot. When I first started seriously roleplaying in Dark Age of Camelot, one of my favorite areas was out by the docks. The sound and sight of water lapping against the shore appealed to some mawkish, maudlin post-teenage angst in me.

Then, in City of Heroes, I was introduced to a different way of roleplaying in video games. The heroes (and story-based villains) gathered in a small stretch of park next to a danger zone. Hunkered against a lake in Galaxy City, dozens of players would come together to roleplay with whoever happened to be around. That reminded me of my MUD days, of course, and it seemed the best option to get everyone involved. As I cruised different "servers," the roleplayers always seemed to gather in that same, exact area. The reasons were obvious -- it was a safe place for newb toons, and it lent itself naturally to the kind of casual roleplay most folks prefer.

But now that I'm firmly in my World of Warcraft life, natural locations for roleplay seem a little harder to find. Every server seems to have their own preferences. If I'm not forearmed via the official forums, I'm regularly flustered when trying to find the roleplayers gathering anywhere.

However, good locations for roleplay can be difficult to find. Where can you (safely) get newb toons and older toons together? What locations provide the right ambiance for casual, ad-hoc roleplay?

Let's take a look behind the jump where I'll list some of my favorite (or infamous) spots.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

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