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Posts with tag Sunwell-plateau

WoW Archivist: Patch 2.4 -- Fury of the Sunwell

Fury of the Sunwell logo
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?

On March 4, 2008, Gary Gygax, the creator of Dungeons & Dungeons, passed away. A few weeks later, Blizzard dedicated the final and meatiest patch of the Burning Crusade expansion to Gary's memory.

Unlike the raid- and druid-centric patch 2.1, the big nothing of 2.2, or the old world revamp (and another raid) of patch 2.3, Fury of the Sunwell had boatloads of new endgame content for everyone. Blizzard also provided a trailer for the patch that showed the history of the Sunwell and revealed Kael'thas' diabolical plan.

Redefining realm-wide events

Kael'thas had to be stopped. The naaru convinced the Scryers and the Aldor to work together, forming a new faction to retake the Sunwell at the Isle of Que'Danas. The Shattered Sun Offensive represented a massive evolution of the realm-wide event concept after the very popular Gates of Ahn'qiraj event ushered in the idea. Daily quests, introduced in The Burning Crusade, were the key.

The Gates event required players to gather and turn in crafting supplies. Though you certainly felt like a contributor by forking over dozens of stacks of cloth, the gameplay aspect was lacking. Only one guild per realm could participate in the complete quest line.

On Quel'Danas, everyone could experience the story as it played out. Instead of turning in items, your realm earned credit toward the next phase of the event when players completed dailies. Rather than a one-time event, the phases changed and unlocked different parts of the island to show the Offensive's progress. Eventually the united Scryers and Aldor built a town, complete with a blacksmith for repairs, alchemy lab, portal, and statues to honor the fallen. Each new phase also brought new dailies and new rewards that could be purchased with gold and "badges" (TBC's equivalent of valor points). All of these changes were permanent, so you didn't have to log in on a specific day in order to enjoy them.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Know Your Lore: Anveena Teague and the Sunwell

Know Your Lore Anveena Teague and the Sunwell
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.

Those who travel to Sunwell Plateau may have seen her -- the inexplicable human girl trapped in a bubble above the Sunwell itself, even as demons channel dark energies below. Her story is a sad one, one of the more poignant tales in Warcraft's history, but it's by and large unknown to many who play. Which is kind of a pity, when you think about it -- Anveena Teague is one of those clear in-game representations of when written material and game content collide with little success. Despite her story being told in the manga series The Sunwell Trilogy, that story never really made it into the game in any capacity.

It also means that every time myself, one of my guildmates, or simply random people that follow me over on Twitter head into Sunwell Plateau, I'm asked who that girl the bubble is, where she came from, and why she's there. And since we have yet to address Anveena's full story in Know Your Lore, I thought it was high time she was featured in a column of her own. So we're taking a break from Pandaria this week, and instead turning our attention back in time to the days of Lordaeron's fall, the days when draconic intervention was a far more common occurrence, the days when the Scourge marched en masse over the land, to a quiet little hamlet known as Tarren Mill.

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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

Breakfast Topic: What characterizes WoW's best raids?

Breakfast Topic What characterizes WoW's best raids
People disagree a lot as to what WoW's best raids have been, not least because it's tough to evaluate how "good" a raid was until after some time has passed. For example, an MMO Champion forum poll a few months ago selected Icecrown Citadel as the game's best "final raid," and yet, I remember lots of players complaining that it hadn't been anywhere near as good as Black Temple a the time. You also have to wonder about the extent to which accessibility plays a role. Most people who saw Sunwell at level 70 loved it, but that wasn't a lot of people.

Anyway, three of the most frequently cited "best raids" of WoW are Karazhan, Black Temple, and Ulduar. I thought it might be worthwhile to ask -- what made them so good?
  • Iconic drops or rewards Many of the drops from these places are instantly recognizable. Everybody wanted the "squid staff" off Illhoof and the Nightbane shield, and you can't swing a dead cat in trade chat without hitting another Black Temple transmog run. Even Ulduar, in the age of gear consolidation, had memorable drops.
  • Atmosphere Karazhan was essentially an overgrown haunted house. Black Temple was a fortress full of Broken that would be hostile until you set Akama's soul free, with the brooding Illidan perched on top. Ulduar was an exceptionally beautiful fortress concealing its true purpose as a prison.
  • At least one unexpected encounter You couldn't beat Kara without besting Medivh's ghost at chess, Illidan was one of WoW's most inventive fights, and, as nightmarishly difficult as it was, I still cherish my guild's first Yogg-0 kill.
What made something WoW's "best raid" for you? What mechanics or features would you most like to see repeated in a future raid?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Raiding

What signals the end of an expansion?

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Wrath of the Lich King ended on kind of a sour note for me, largely because I didn't get to participate in my guild's one and only 25-man heroic Lich King kill before Cataclysm launched. Part of the rankle was for personal reasons, but part of it was also that for me, that kill would have ended the expansion. Never mind that we didn't kill Halion on heroic -- that was filler content, as far as I was concerned. Wrath of the Lich King was all about the Lich King and seeing him die.

But really, it goes back farther than that. In vanilla, I had no idea what an expansion really was; my MMOG experience was limited to WoW, for the most part, with a brief dabble in City of Heroes. So terms like expansions didn't make any sense to me until a friend explained what it meant: a new game was coming, building off the game I was already playing. No, I didn't have to purchase it if I didn't want to, but I wouldn't be able to see any of the new stuff if I didn't. And then my friend showed me just a sampling of all the cool stuff to be seen in The Burning Crusade. A beta invite later, and I was thoroughly hooked.

But there wasn't an end to vanilla for me. One day, I was playing vanilla WoW; the next, I was tromping through the Dark Portal and headed to Outland.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Transmogrification sets from Sunwell Plateau, part 2

Heading back to pick up some awesome armor sets from vanilla WoW or that dazzling weapon that'll have your enemies cowering in fear? Transmogrification makes it possible -- and we'll show you how!

While you're blazing your way through the Sunwell Plateau, don't forget about the other items you can nab along the way. In addition to the gear and items that drop in the raid, bosses drop Sunmotes, which can be traded along with various loot drops in Sunwell Plateau for other loot items. To trade these items, look for the NPC Yrma aboard the boat in Sunwell Harbor.

In addition, there is also plenty of unique-looking gear on Smith Hauthaa over in the armory section of the Isle. Unlike the other gear to be found on the Isle, everything that Hauthaa has can be purchased for justice points rather than fished out of an instance. If you've got a glut of justice points, it may be worth it to check out Hauthaa's wares and see if there's anything that catches your eye for transmogrification.

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Filed under: World of Wardrobe, Transmogrification

Transmogrification sets from Sunwell Plateau, part 1

Heading back to pick up some awesome armor sets from vanilla WoW or that dazzling weapon that'll have your enemies cowering in fear? Transmogrification makes it possible -- and we'll show you how!

Sunwell Plateau was one of those raids that nobody ever expected to see -- nor did they expect additional items for their tier sets. However, the raid was well received. Raiders turned their focus to Sunwell Plateau and the loot within, including three new additions to their tier 6 sets in the form of belts, boots and bracers. However, despite carrying the same name as these tier sets, the models on these items didn't really match the sets at all. But fear not -- if you're looking for a snazzy matching outfit, the Sunwell has some unofficial sets that are absolutely gorgeous. These are the sets that the belts, boots and bracers were made for, and they're perfect for transmogrification. Check the gallery below for the sets, and follow us after the break for strats and guides to Sunwell Plateau.

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Filed under: World of Wardrobe, Transmogrification

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

The Queue: S'more

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.

Once upon a time, Hawaiian pizza was all the rage here at The Queue. Well ... okay, I won't lie, Hawaiian pizza is still all the rage here at The Queue, but now we have dessert, too. I've been inspired by Streetza Pizza, a local food truck here in Milwaukee, and will be making s'mores pizza this evening. I'll report back on how it goes.

FluffedMojo asked:

"Are AoE pulls gone in favor of legitimate strategy in 5-mans?"

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue, Cataclysm

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

Breakfast Topic: Where's the epic

So we got a lot of big news yesterday: Badges are going the way of the dodo (and I for one will not miss them), and on top of that astonishing bit of news, the way we raid is about to change forever. Loot from 10- and 25-man raiding will be identical, the only difference being in the amount of loot that is doled out, or so the changes seem to indicate. For those that enjoy 10-man content this is well and good, for those that enjoy 25-man content ... well. It may get that much harder to recruit. But I'm not really going to talk about that.

What I am going to talk about is the screenshot pictured above. That's my priest, my first raiding character back in vanilla. She's taking a siesta while waiting for everyone to run back from yet another wipe on Ragnaros, the final boss in Molten Core. By everyone, I mean all 39 other people involved in the raid at the time; when I say this was vanilla I mean this shot was taken before BWL had even been hinted at. See, there's something fundamentally ... off with raiding in Wrath, and I can't really put my finger on it -- but I keep going back to this screenshot and remembering fondly the small army it took to finally make that bastard up and die.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The OverAchiever: 5 of the best lore-related achievements

Let's be honest; the best lore-related achievement is without question Loremaster, which requires you to do the vast majority of the game's quests. But that's pretty self-evident -- "To get the best lore experience in-game, do the quests, which contain virtually all of the actual lore!" -- and thus kind of a cop-out from my perspective. So what I'm going to do with this edition of OverAchiever is pointedly ignore the fact that Loremaster is the most important thing you should do as a dedicated lore junkie, and turn to some other options that tend to be overlooked.

As with our article on Twenty-Five Tabards, this is not an exhaustive guide on how to do each achievement, but simply a starting point if you're either interested in Azeroth's history, or interested in your character becoming more deeply involved in the developing story. As an early warning, 1 of the following 5 achievements is no longer doable, but I've decided to include it as I think the inability to do it at this point in time could be considered part of Azerothian history.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Features, Raiding, Lore, The Overachiever

The Queue: Blood and glory


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

I was going to kick off today's edition of The Queue by embedding Black Eyed Peas' I Gotta Feeling (slightly NSFW) since I mentioned it was a guilty pleasure of mine on yesterday's Moviewatch. Unfortunately, the official Black Eyed Peas Youtube channel disabled embedding and I'm not going to be a jerk and hijack it from somebody else's channel. So you get a Dragon Age screenshot instead. Hooray! Blood!

No, we're not getting paid to plug this game constantly. We're just nerds. Nerd gamers. This is what we do.

Ilmyrn asked...

"Any word on whether we'll ever see a non-Arena frost wyrm mount?"


Well, there's a frost wyrm model in patch 3.3, but I assume that's to go with the latest arena season. So I'm going to say... no. The Gladiators get Frost Wyrms, the PvE players get Invincible.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Inscription, The Queue, Cataclysm

Breakfast Topic: Most emotional boss encounter?

After compiling a list of what I felt were the most difficult raid bosses to heal, it got me wondering. Many of the encounters we've faced, be it in 5 mans or raids, have players feeling varying levels of emotion after they bring them down. One of my guild officers refers to it as "chasing a high". It's a feeling you experience after taking down a particularly tough boss.

I'll give you an example.

In vanilla WoW, Vael was a challenge in his own right. It took a long time for my guild to bring him down before the expansion came out. But to me, the greatest rush and "high" I experienced was after taking down Illidan for the first time. Kil'Jaeden was a close second. Sartharion with 3 drakes alive was the closest encounter in Wrath of the Lich King to even compare to the euphoric feelings I felt before during Burning Crusade.

Then there's the other kind of emotional where you've felt invested in a particular character and experience a sense of dread after realizing you're the executioner. After my guild took down Kael'thas, I felt a pang of regret. I was heavily into Warcraft III in the years before World of Warcraft. Kael was one of my favourite expansion heroes to play with. No one truly enjoys killing their favourite heroes. Of course, little did I know that Kael wasn't quite finished yet. So in a sense, even though I was overjoyed that we killed Kael after 6 or so weeks, I was disappointed that we had to kill Kael. I know I'm not the only one on the staff who feels a connection to raid bosses. For Alex, killing Vaelstrasz bought a slight tear to his eye. Just one. He's still a dragon with loot after all.

Maybe the next boss that will give me the exhilarating thrill will be when we drop Arthas himself.

Which boss made the most impact to you as a player and what about it made it so special?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Queue: You are slightly more prepared than you were


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

That's a trailer we haven't seen in awhile, huh? It's relevant today, I promise! Besides, a little nostalgia is always fun. If I have one grievance with Wrath of the Lich King's cinematic, it's that they didn't give us an incredibly corny catchphrase to spout for nearly two years.

Discolando asked...

"Is there any substance to the rumor I've recently read that patch 3.3 will contain another yet unknown raid instance, and patch 3.4 will contain Icecrown Citadel? It does seem more logical to 'finish' the expansion with the advertised antagonist instead of a deux ex machina like patch 2.4 gave us."

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, The Queue

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